BHS Graduation: Senior Speeches and Poem

Published 9:00 am Friday, May 25, 2012

Valedictorian – Anne Reynolds

Anne Reynolds

Class of 2012, what is a dream?

Is a dream what one thinks of when asleep? Is a dream comprised of imagined visions of future success? Can a dream be as small as passing a quiz or as large as flying to the moon?
In reality, my fellow classmates, a dream is all of these. A dream is the product of its creator, to be shaped and molded into any imaginable form – a form as unique as that of the dreamer. Yet, Class of 2012, each of us has shared the same dream for most of our lives – and tonight, on this field and in the eyes of those we hold most dear, we are achieving it. Tonight, we celebrate an accomplishment made possible through twelve years of dedication – many obstacles lay in our path. Yet, we have prevailed, and for that, we should all be proud.

Tonight, however, we celebrate more than what we have achieved in the past. Tonight, we celebrate what we may achieve in the future. Our graduation is a gateway leading to greater dreams and greater accomplishments. Each of us have the potential to change lives, to make an impact, to leave our mark upon this world – but to do so, we must dream big.

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As Lita Bane once said,

“Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men’s blood and will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble and logical plan never dies, but long after we are gone will be a living thing.”

The pharaohs of Ancient Egypt wanted grand tombs – monuments, if you will – to house their bodies and possessions after death. The pharaohs wanted no ordinary casket or mausolem – such a burial would not do. Hundreds of laborers and tons of stone were utilized in order to create tombs that stretched over 100 meters into the sky. Those tombs, the pyramids of Egypt, still stand today, over 4,500 years after completion.

Steve Jobs was an adopted child and, after only six months, dropped out of college. Steve Jobs had a dream, though – while earning money through recycling Coke bottles and eating free meals at a local temple, he continued to drop in on college classes. He was eventually hired by Atari, which put him on the path towards his dream of designing computers – the company he helped to found, Apple, has since become a technological giant. Steve Jobs wanted to, in his own words, “put a ding in the universe.” He did so by working hard and dreaming big.

Class of 2012, we all have the potential to create something bigger than ourselves. Have we not already begun? We are a class of entrepreneurs and athletes; scholars, and leaders. Some of us will go into the military, and some of us will go into ministry. Some of us will bring our athletics skills to a college team. At some point in time, we have all dreamed of something bigger than ourselves and seen success. We must have faith that we can continue to do so. As a favorite poet of mine, T. S. Eliot, once wrote, “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”  Test your boundaries – if you do so, you will find that there are fewer obstacles than you may have thought.

Several years have passed since I first envisioned that I might stand before you today, my fellow graduates, as the Valedictorian of the Class of 2012. I have struggled through Calculus, lost the game in AP Lit, and spent way too much of my time writing Document-Based Questions for AP Euro. I have seen victory while playing on the BHS Lady Cats Tennis team, and I have had the experience of visiting the great city of Chicago through my time with Mr. Alday and the Quiz Bowl team. I have made countless memories – and many unforgettable friends. With everyone here, I have worked my way through the horror of the Math I EOCT and suffered through a week of graduation testing. Together, we have all mastered the swish turn and three-point sit – all in anticipation of this one night. I thank you, my fellow classmates, for making these four years of high school so memorable. Tonight, we officially leave Bainbridge High School, with only our memories and friends to carry with us. Tonight is an end – an end of one dream, but the beginning of a bigger one. We have proven ourselves and have overcome the trials set before us. However, we cannot stop here. We MUST continue to strive for more, to hope for more…to dream big.
Congratulations, class of 2012, and good luck in all future endeavors. Tonight, we part ways as alumni of Bainbridge High School. Yet, we will always be connected through our shared experiences and memories. Regardless of what we may have thought of high school throughout the past four years, it is a bittersweet parting. Keep your friends close, and cherish your memories. And, know that if any class was built to succeed, it is indeed ours. God bless.


Salutatorian – Leigh Spooner

Leigh Spooner

Good evening BHS teachers and staff, parents, families, guests, and graduates of 2012. My name is Leigh Spooner, Class of 2012 Salutatorian.

I once read a statement by a man named Thomas Edward Bodett. “They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” After thinking about the meaning of this quote, I realized that it is not only accurate but also extremely relevant to this point in our lives.

We all have someone to love. Whether it is someone who raised us and sacrificed for us, someone who taught us something along the way, or even a romantic relationship, each of us has a person that we hold the deepest regard for. These people are the driving force behind everything we do and the reason we try so hard to succeed. Their love gives us strength and encouragement during times of insecurity. Personally, I believe we can all contribute much of our success to those who have loved us throughout our lives.

We all have something to do. At this moment, it’s to get through graduation night. Then, it’s time for us to plan our futures. Whether college, the military, a job, or another path await us, we must plan and prepare ourselves for whatever the future may hold. It is also the time in our lives to make the enormous decision of who we will become.

We all should have something to hope for. If not for our future or for our eventual success, we should look forward to the people that we are to become. After this graduation, we can consider our high school days a thing of the past. We all can have a fresh start and forget about our miniscule slip-ups and mistakes that our high school-selves constantly, constantly made. From this point on, we get to choose how we are presented to others. We can be whomever we choose to be. Right now, I am hopeful that I will become the adult that I was called to be, disposing of the shell of a girl that I have been. It is time to take responsibility for our lives and truly become independent. I hope that all of you graduating are excited to find out who you will become. Our identity is no longer about the choices of our parents and families; who we are is now solely up to us.

Even though this segment of our lives is over, I hope we never forget the memories. Never forget the person that you are within. Never take for granted any talents or abilities that God might have blessed you with.  Each opportunity you have been or will be given is something to be immensely grateful for.

In the words of singer Lee Ann Womack, “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. Whenever one door closes, I hope one door opens. Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, dance.” Never get too proud to be thankful for all you have been given. Don’t let an obstacle stop you from doing what you have passion for because obstacles are guaranteed in this newfound adulthood. Have faith in yourself and in God’s grace and mercy, and when you have the option of staying on the “safe side” or diving headfirst into a new situation, just dive.


Senior Speech – Emily Ward

Emily Ward

Good evening everyone.  Seniors, Principal Mr. Howell, Superintendent Dr. Rayfield, faculty and staff of the Decatur County School System, and of course, parents.

Tonight, I would like to take a moment to discuss these past 4 years of high school.

I’m going to try to keep the tone tonight a happy one because just like fairy tales, I hate sad endings.

Before we begin, I would like to take the time to thank a few people who have been such an influential impact on my life.  First I would like to give a special thanks to the man upstairs for always having my back and enabling me to reach my number one goal of making a speech at graduation.  Without Him none of us would be able to celebrate this momentous milestone.  Next I would like to thank my dad and mom for putting up with me and always supporting me whether it was my dad attending my concerts and other adventures, or my mom who I believe enjoyed nagging me about any school work, and always cared about how school was going. Bottom line, they supported me. And without that support, I would not be here fulfilling my lifelong goal to give a speech at graduation.

When I first began pondering what to write in this speech, I had no clue where to begin.  But then I realized this speech isn’t about one particular group of seniors, but the whole class. Together. United and ready to storm the world before it supposedly ends in December.  I’m not going to talk about MY life, or the person sitting in row 10 seat 11.  No, this speech is dedicated to reflecting the entire 2012 senior class.  I am going to keep this short and sweet. Because we all know we do not want to listen to a 10 minute long mini Wikipedia excerpt about how awesome our class is.

But, let’s get to the next point. Graduation is a time to be happy! We made it past 12 hard and VERY long years in this school system. Whether it was the crazy homework assignments, the ridiculously long research papers, waiting for 5% of the senior class to stand up with the rest of us, or nailing the 3 point turn and swoosh, we somehow made it and are all sitting here one last time tonight. Anxiously awaiting for our cue to throw our caps into the air.  As I stand before you I am just so excited to hear your names and your success in the future.  Everyone is going to live the life they choose and I think that is amazing.  As we reach out into the world we are faced with challenges.  Individuality and responsibility are the two I wish to draw everyone’s attention to.

You have heard someone somewhere state “well if your friend Dillen jumps off a cliff does that me you are to?” be yourself and never worry about what anyone else thinks of you.  YOU are who YOU are because YOU were made that way!  So why change something as important as your own personal thoughts and opinions.

Next, I want to put a huge emphasis on responsibility.  Your teachers have hounded you for it, parents or guardians, and possibly even some of your friends have tried to encourage you to be more responsible.  These people are trying to help you. So, take the responsibility to listen to what they say and stay in touch with anyone in your life you KNOW is important.  It doesn’t matter if they are disliked by all 302 of us.  If you like them, you take a stand for not only them, but yourself.  Someone will be impressed by your courage and friendly attitude. I know I would be. It is NEVER too late to make a friend. Turn and look at the person beside you. Smile.  Talk to them.  They won’t bite. I am sure they showered and ate before they came to their own graduation.

Finally, as I gaze upon all the wonderful people I have had the joy of knowing throughout my years of school, I would like to close with on this note.

When I was young, I watched Legally Blonde for the first time. The moment I heard her graduation speech at Harvard Law Academy, I looked at my mom and told her I AM going to do that one day. And it makes me proud to know that because the support of my classmates, family, and teachers, I can say the most inspiring movie quote I have ever heard:

It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct. You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.

Congratulations class of 2012 – we did it!


Senior Poem

Macy Phillips

“The Next Best You”

By Macy L. Phillips


I’m going to be honest,
I don’t know all of you.
Not your name,
Not your family,
Or from whence you came.


But tonight,
We share this common ground,
We are all dressed up in our purple,
Draped in our gowns,
All feeling some degree of emotion,
And all of us one by one,
will receive our diploma,
and sit back down.


And as you take your seat,
I hope you feel joy,
And I hope you feel blessed,
But I hope you know that this is not our best.


Class of 2012,
Graduating does not mean that you are through,
You all owe it to yourself to go and be the NEXT best you.
It doesn’t matter to me what your plans are after this,
But don’t waste all of the work we just did,
To settle for less.


All of our circumstances are different,
Some are going to college,
Some are going to work and stay,
Some of you have been blessed with beautiful babies that need your love every day.


And if someone hasn’t already told you tonight,
Then know that I’m proud of you,
And anyone that is brave enough to rise above their current circumstances,
is the epitome of strong and successful too.
Just never forget to thank our heavenly father above for seeing you through.


So, Seniors,
Leave here determined to,
Give your all to college, or your all to your work, or your all to your children,
Your all to being the next best you.