Editor’s Note: Lili Stainbrook was one of five speakers at Douglas High School graduation. This is a copy of her speech.
Class of 2013, I have big dreams for myself just as the rest of my fellow classmates. We are young, determined, and full of potential. We can achieve anything that we truly work for and put effort towards. Throughout my high school years it has been a constant struggle, a lifetime of memories, and the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life. Now, that has all paid off. Now, we’re graduating and starting our lives. We are the future. Regardless if some of us end up in college receiving a higher education while others go straight into the workforce, we are the future.
Our generation is expected to change the direction of this world. The real question is which direction to take? I believe we need to touch base with our roots of morality and work ethic in this country. We need to eat dinner with our families every night rather than scrolling social media. We need to be willing to work hard and earn wealth in return. We need to redefine and focus on the important issues. The message I’m trying to convey is that in order to improve or better our society for the future we need to love and spend time with our families, take education seriously, build real friendships, and work that daily grind to support not only our dreams but our endless spirit. I’ve learned countless life lessons my senior year but the most significant was that hard work really does pay off. Each and every graduate should work hard and strive for their own American dream. It can be any goals you have set for yourself whether it’s as simple as having a family one day or as outrageous as becoming rich and famous. The American dream is accessible if you just explore your true passion and take advantage of all opportunities. The dream is all about a rough start but a triumphant outcome and gaining true happiness. My story is just the same, after a rough start with my first year at Douglas I wasn’t motivated and had no sense of where I was going in life. I didn’t push myself to get good grades and I was making careless decisions. I was then assigned a mentor which I thought wouldn’t make any impact at all. After three years of making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, and experiencing life I thank you, Annette Kangas, for supporting me and transforming my young, defiant, mentality into a hard working and productive student.
Even though, I don’t know exactly what career path to follow yet or what I’ll succeed at one day, I’m not worried, and neither should you. We have our whole lives ahead of us and a lot to accomplish. From parents to teachers, Douglas High School has shaped us into genuine people, taught us work ethic and family values, and most importantly prepared us for this point in our lives. I stand here today full with confidence in my future and an inferno of dreams burning bright. As a new generation of fresh minds and open hearts, I encourage you all to take my advice and just believe in yourself. You are the spark to the dreams burning inside you. So, light that fire, and congratulations class of 2013.