Friday, July 15, 2011

2011 Graduate Delivers Valedictorian Speech to All Homeschoolers

I have had the pleasure of traveling to the home of a WRA family that has been with us for 12 years. Daisy graduated this year and her final report was a speech to fellow homeschool graduates. Here it is:                                          

Dear Fellow Homeschooled Graduates,
   I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you, not to an assembly of parents and friends waiting to watch you take your diploma and throw your cap, but to your future. This graduation day is different for those of us who have been schooled at home. Our commencement is not full of ceremony; no long speeches, endless formalities, or grumpy old principles to hand us our diploma. Instead we have our family, our parents or guardians, to give us the piece of paper that marks the end of our high school years. We have our closest friends to pat us on the back and tell us how proud they are. We have our own confidence to let us know that we are ready for the steps we are taking into our lives as adults.
   Speaking of adults, I would like to take a moment to recognize the real masterminds behind my wonderful education, my parents. They were the ones who chose to homeschool me, and they are the ones who have had to put up with me every day since making that decision. They have been with me every step of the way and if it weren’t for them I would not be the person I have become. We must remember that we are not the only ones graduating today. Our parents, guardians, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or whichever loving adult that has been there for you during your education, are joining us on this journey, as they have joined us on all of the others we have taken. They too are graduating, not from being high school students, but from being high school teachers. Their journey has been just as hard as ours has, but in different ways. They have had to be our support, our shoulder to cry on and our friend to confide in. They have had to sit and watch us struggle and fail, excel and succeed. They have been by our sides since the beginning and they are still with us at the end. Thank you teachers, for supporting us through our lives and through our education. I hope that we make you as proud as you have made us. Congratulations on your final graduation.     
   There is something very special about graduating as a homeschooler. Whether you have been homeschooled for just this last year, or for your whole life, whether you have been unschooled or strictly regimented in you curriculum, you understand the difference. We are all here because we worked for it and because we want to be. Due to the nature of homeschooling, most us have been educating ourselves since the beginning of our high school years. We have learned how to push our selves, how to see a goal and reach it. The institution did not outline our curriculum; we got to choose what we wanted to study and how we wanted to study it. We were able to learn at our own pace and because of it we got to choose when, where, and how we would graduate. Because of this difference I believe that we are an exceptional group of graduates. We are all well equipped to step into the world and take hold of our lives. We have life skills that are priceless and an education that is unique and advanced. I know that it might sound cheesy to say, but we are the future. We are going to go on to build our world, and because of our alternative education we will be able to create things that have never been thought of before. The future that we plan to build is bright, and thanks to the journey that we have had to complete to reach our graduation, I believe that we are ready to start. 
  Each of our journeys to this great right of passage in our lives has been unique, but there is one aspect that is the same for all of us; we all worked for this. We all put our blood sweat and tears into achieving our diploma. All of us have different reason and goals for wanting to graduate, and even though we do not know each other, we are all united in the same place, turning in our final papers and awaiting our graduation. We did not get here by sitting back for the ride. Each and every one of us stepped up and grabbed our education by the reins. We are the ones that got us to this place of achievement, and even though many people aided us, our hard work is what we have to thank for reaching this place in our lives. So, I would like to congratulate you all on your hard work. Congratulation for everything you have achieved, congratulations for successfully graduating, and congratulations for pulling through it all as a part of the homeschooling community. I hope that all of you go on to be the amazing people you were raised to become. Whatever you choose to do with your life, do it well and do not ever forget the lessons that you learned as a homeschooled graduate.
 I hope you all have successful and fulfilling lives. Congratulations on your achievements; past present and future. 
Daisy Lee Willis, Keaau, HI USA   

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