“Class of 2014, let’s get those papers that give us our date of manufacture and tell us we are smart enough to use our minds,” joked valedictorian Tyler Daniels who likened the current education system to a factory throughout his speech.
“You’re not the mindless bookshelves that our system tells you you are,” he said. “You are all unique. Just because you don’t fit in to the current system of standardization, it does not make you wrong, broken or defective.”
He advised his fellow students that life experiences gathered in high school are far more valuable than a cumulative GPA.
“Thinking for oneself has not been on any standardized test that I’ve ever seen,” Daniels said.
English teacher Britany Mason also embraced the value of experience. She acknowledged that each generation will ignore the advice of the previous one and encouraged her students to be seasoned by life.
“Make mistakes, make lots of them,” she said.
But she prodded the class, in good humor, to return in 20 years and confess that life would have been smoother if they had taken a bit of advice.
Had any student been so inclined, salutatorian Tara Abrams and Principal Jason Wayman were brimming with wisdom and encouragement.
“Change yourself for the better and take opportunities. The circumstances of birth are irrelevant, it is what you do with the gift of that life that determines who you are,” Abrams said.
The principal also shared many inside jokes about individual students across interests including music, sports and academics.
“You have left me with great memories, and I thank you for that opportunity to spend them with you,” he said.