April Vrtis

Making a speech at your graduation is an accomplishment and privilege for anyone. Making a speech that contains the words of this one truely requires wisdom and courage. This is a young lady that I am proud to say is related to me.

Let me start by congratulating all my class mates on making it this far, this is a major accomplishment.

Before I go any further I would just like to say that the only thing that scares me more than one of Mr. Conklin’s classes is public speaking, so please be gentle.

It is easy to turn on the news or surf the web and find examples of how cruel people can be to one another; sometimes it seems that as a society we are only getting worse, not better. I believe that we can change that, if one by one we make a conscious decision to be kind, that we may in some way change the world. What I would like to talk to you about this afternoon are six ways that we can all ”Improve Our Little Corners of the World”.

First - Observe - Look at the world around you. Life is not meant to be viewed passively in front of a 60-inch plasma TV. Life puts out a far better DVD than Hollywood ever could. Take time to appreciate its beauty and to notice the events unfolding.

Second - Listen - turn off the iPod and take out the ear buds. Today, people can easily get lost in their own little world; they sometimes forget to listen to what others have to say. Add other people’s songs to your play list. You don’t have to agree with them all the time, but you can give them a shot, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Third – Enjoy - There seems to be a lot of angry people in the world. We are a county that has been richly blessed, and yet people who live much simpler lives than us are some of the happiest people. Strive for the best life you can get, but never be unhappy with what you have.

Fourth - Think of others - like it or not there are other people in the world, and we must coexist, so why not make the best of it. Acknowledge those around you… like the cashier at Wal-Mart who probably wants to be there even less than you do. Why not smile and possibly make his or her day a little bit brighter. When you put someone else in the center of your life, your entire world changes for the better.

Fifth - Go off-road - we are so addicted with the monotony of our lives spent trapped inside the four walls of our house that we have forgotten how unpredictable life should be. Technology is great, we wonder how we ever got along without the gadgets we have today, but let’s not allow technology to take away life’s experiences. The best stories, the best movies, are ones that contain action, adventure, twists and turns, and you cannot achieve these things in life sitting on your couch.

Finally the sixth thing - Say Thank You - Thank the people who have been there for you: your parents, teachers, friends and family. Don’t take them for granted. Realize that they have helped to shape who you are. They make you feel good about yourself and add color to your life. They pick you up when you are down and encourage you to purse your dreams. Saying Thank-You may seem like a simple task, but it is one easily overlooked.

And remember -- practice make perfect. It is not always easy to be nice, but with practice we will get better.

We would not be here today if it were not for a lot of people who have helped us along the way, I want to thank the teachers for the knowledge and wisdom you all have engrained in us. I would like to thank my classmates for the laughter, friendships and encouragement over the years we have spent together. Finally I would like to thank the parents of the Class of 2008, without you we would have never made it this far. You serve as our foundations, keeping us stable and guiding us down the path of life. Today, the Class of 2008 hopes serves as a reminder of how you have affected our lives. Thank you!