2014 Valedictorian Joseph Hurban - Graduation Speech

Guest post by Waldwick High School 2014 Valedictorian Joseph Hurban.  Joseph will be attending College of New Jersey in the fall.  He plans to study Mechanical Engineering at TCNJ. 

Good Evening Dr. Raupers, Members of the board of education, Mr. Caroll, Mr. Clancy, members of faculty, honored guests, parents, family, friends, family friends, and anyone else who had nothing to do on a Friday night but most of all, YOU – the class of 2014 (clap hands). Seven years ago, I sat over there with the band and I heard the first of many valedictorian speeches. I remember all of the speeches were full of inspiring memories and were chockfull of creativity. You would think that writing one would be easy with having listened to so many.    – So here goes nothing.

We did it! We have survived the past four years of writing essays, completing group projects, procrastinating over our math homework, and finishing web assigns at 11:59. It has been a 4 year trek up the mountain people call high school, and today we have reached the peak, allowing us to see our full journey. Everyone started and ended at the same spot, but our paths are each unique, and those paths were full of twists and turns. This is because life is not linear; it is full of unpredictable turns.

But what now? This is definitely not the end of the road, but a crossroad that can lead a person in any direction that they desire. One of the greatest Peacemakers of all time, Nelson Mandela once stated that “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb”. But we should not fear the future ahead of us, because the past can give us the strength to move forward towards your goals.

We must always be moving forward, as life is a one way street. There are no redo’s or deleted scenes; what is behind us is history, but remember that it is your history that will make you into the person you will become. To our parent’s, we will become  their future doctors, teachers, engineers, soldiers, actors, technicians, chefs, authors, and historians. And as we are busying changing the world, we will begin to see just how much the world has changed us. Just because you don’t notice how or what the world, has changed you, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. For example maybe it was Mr. Wizemann’s 45 minute but really 2 hour tests that taught you that there is not enough time to do everything. Or maybe you mastered the art of multitasking when you were writing that essay for English while watching the finale of Breaking Bad. Who knows, maybe it was the development of those time management skills of the precious 3 minutes in between classes. But whichever life lesson we have learned, or the amazing skills that we have developed at high school, we will remember it for the rest of our life. Hopefully they are better than the ones I mentioned.
But enough of the corny jokes and peachy puns. Today we have reached the summit of the first of a chain of mountains that are beckoning us. While today we can rest, tomorrow we will begin the next mountain. There is no direct path for each of us to follow, we must find it ourselves. We will become trailblazers, creating trails with our footsteps. You will not be following the path that was once traveled, and nor will the people behind you.

But most importantly, this is not the Lonely Mountain, we will encounter other people who will be on their journey along with us, fighting their own dragons. And when they ask you where you are going, we will tell them : to the top. If they ask why you are making the journey, we will tell them : to fulfill my dreams. And when they ask you when you will reach the top, we will tell them: No one knows, because no one has taken my path before.
We are the class of 2014, and we creating our path to success. Thank You.