Lauren Skinner is the St. Patrick Catholic High School Class of 2018 Valedictorian. Her address was given during the Graduation Liturgy and Presentation of Diplomas on Friday, May 18, 2018.
Read her address to students below!
Bishop Kihneman, the Clergy, Dr. Ladner, Dr. Clark, Mr. Buckley, the Faculty and Staff of St. Patrick Catholic High School, and the graduating class of 2018, good evening. Before I begin, I would like to say this is truly an honor for all of you because you get the chance to listen to me talk. My fellow graduates, look at us, we did it! The past six years of our lives have led up to this very moment: sitting in this gym together, wearing funny looking hats with a cat toy attached to it, with a bunch of people, some of whom you don’t really know because your parents bought 50 graduation invitations and you had to get rid of them somehow. All of the stress, tears, hard work, and early morning Tavel days have finally paid off. You should all be so proud of yourselves!
I would not be standing here before you tonight if it weren’t for some very special people. So now I would like to take a moment to thank these people and give them the recognition they deserve. First off, I would like to thank all the valedictorians that have come before me, whose speeches were recorded and put on YouTube so that others might enjoy them, and that I may steal from them. But don’t worry, if high school has taught me anything, it’s that it’s not considered plagiarism as long as you cite your sources, so I made a works cited page to accompany this speech. Just don’t ask to see it because it got lost. Next, I would like to thank my teachers, who not only pushed me to be the best I could be every day, but who also put up with my shenanigans. Every single one of you has impacted my life for the better, and I wish I could mention all of you individually, but if I did, this speech would be entirely too long and I really don’t want to make any enemies during my final moments here at St. Patrick. Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention my friends and classmates. I couldn’t have asked to be part of a better class, and all of you will hold a special place in my heart for years to come. Finally, I’d like to thank my family. Your love and support has shaped me into the woman I am today. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my two number one fans. Thank you mom and dad for all you have done for me these past 18 years. I’m especially grateful for all the sacrifices you made to ensure that I received a Catholic education. I love you both very much.
So, my fellow classmates, before we start the next chapter of our lives, I would like to share my wish for you, the Class of 2018. Just like your parents, your family, your friends, your teachers, and anyone else present here tonight, I want you to be successful. Each and every one of you is capable of amazing things, and as a class we have the power to change the world and make it a better place. But most importantly, I wish that you remember what the true meaning of success is. Success is not measured in money, or in status, or how many followers you have on Instagram. It is measured in love, and in kindness, and in selflessness. It’s not about what you get out of it, it’s about what you do for others. Success is not how many times you win, it’s how many times you fall down and pick yourself up again. I say this to you because the future will not be easy for us. We will face obstacles, and there will be people along our journey who don’t want us to win. I urge you to look those people in the eyes and say, “Not today.” And for those days when you do fall and you feel as if the world is against you, remember this: there is always one person rooting for you no matter what. Which leads me to the second part of my wish: I hope you always remember how much God loves you, and that you keep Him with you in all that you do.
I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us. And so my fellow graduates, this concludes my speech, but always remember one thing; any pizza is a personal pizza if you try hard and believe in yourself.
Thank you and God Bless!