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Valedictory address by Megan Hardwick of George West
Jun 03, 2009 | 1340 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GW Valedictorian Megan Hardwick addressed the class of 2009 during commencement exercises last Friday evening at the George West Longhorn stadium.
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Good evening, and as Mr. Luna would say, “It is a great day to be alive and a George West Longhorn”. Tonight I am feeling both an overwhelming sense of joy and sadness because I am closing a chapter in my life and beginning the next. I think Corey Smith’s song “I’m Not Gonna Cry” captures the epitome of what I’m feeling tonight.

Sunday Shoes, Cap and Gown

The whole town gathered around

Waited 18 years now it’s all comin down to this.

I scanned the crowd and it fills my soul

My best friends all here in rows

No turning back, Now it’s time to walk that line

This tassel is gonna turn

But when the moment passes by

We’ll just walk away

Then slowly grow apart

But I’m not gonna cry, no

Not one sad or happy tear

I’ve waited my whole life

Now I’m gonna fly right outta here

It’s a bittersweet goodbye, but I’m not gonna cry

As we say good bye tonight, I must first say thank you to those who helped me the past twelve years. Thank you to Mr. Sparks, Mr. Newberry, Mrs. Davenport, administrators, teachers, and faculty who have put up with our occasional childish behavior and constant pranks over the last four years. Thank you to our school board trustees and distinguished graduate, Kim Pawlik, seated behind me who have taken time to recognize our accomplishment. Perhaps the biggest thank-you goes to our parents and family who have believed and supported us every step of the way. And to you Class of 2009… thanks to all of you for being exactly who you are. Today is our day! Four years ago we entered the GREAT George West High School scared, full of anticipation, yet excited. About six minutes from now, I’ll be thrilled this speech is over… and of course, you will probably be even more thrilled. It hardly seems fair; I worked hard for 4 years… and I’m rewarded with another paper to write. You worked hard for 4 years… and you have to endure this speech. I guess we’ve all learned that life isn’t always fair. But one thing’s sure: In four minutes, or maybe an hour, or maybe even a summer, we’ll all start the next chapter of our lives on our own.

The reality of this celebration is definitely “bitter sweet”; because sadly this may be the last time we are all together as a class. And just like me, I’m sure each of you at one point expressed how eager you were to get out of good ole George West, Texas. But once we all go our separate ways and are off in the real world, I’m certain most of us will miss all the things that we were ready to leave behind here in George West. I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to grow up in a small town, especially in a community like this one. My family and I have faced some pretty tough times in the past few years after my mom was diagnosed with a terminal illness. This town went above and beyond in showing how much they cared for each one of us. I can’t thank this community enough for all they did for my family and me. Without you, I don’t know if we would’ve been able to get through the past three years. The home cooked meals, phone calls, hugs, cards, and prayers are all enormously appreciated. This town is like a big family. When someone is sick or in need, the entire community shows its support in every way possible. It’s truly amazing! I am honored to say I came from George West and growing up in a small town is probably one of the best things that has happened to me.

Next I want to address the wonderful group of people sitting to the left of me. As cliché as this may sounds, we can make a difference. We are all capable, unique, amazing individuals. Find your passion. Live life. Leave an impact on this world and don’t ever give up on your dreams. Just keep trying and never limit yourself to someone else’s expectations because the only person that can stop you is…you! As a friend of my family once told me, a failure only fails once but a successful person will fail many times. Take risks. Be happy with who you are today-but never stop imagining who you could be tomorrow. Also always remember to enjoy the journey, because before you know it your time on this earth will be up. I know from experience that life is short and should never be taken for granted. Almost three years ago, my mom was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig ’s disease and she lost her battle this past summer. She was taken from me when she was forty-three years old. I learned from her example that you need to live life to its fullest and be happy every step of the way. As Abe Lincoln said, “It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years!”

Take time out to laugh, smile, and relax. Life is too short to always be serious and doesn’t revolve around how many awards you have won or how much money you make. Life is so much more! Love, and be loved. Laugh as often as you can. Spend time with the people you love. And every chance you get, show them how much they mean to you and thank them. To my own family and friends, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your unconditional love and support over the years. I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for the handful of friends who have made these past years so memorable. Let’s face it; friends make life a lot more fun! And having a good time is one thing this class sure knows how to do. We definitely bring excitement with us wherever we go. There’s never a dull moment when the Class of 2009 is around. But most importantly, I want to say thanks to the two people who I owe everything to. Mom, I really wish you could have been here tonight to celebrate this special occasion with me but I know you are smiling proudly down on me from heaven. I want you to know that you are an inspiration to me and I hope that I become half the woman you were. Thank you for being the one I could always count on. The way you loved others was unbelievable. You did everything in your power to show me just how much you cared. Your infinite amount of compassion and endless love left a lasting impression on me and is what shaped me into the person I am today. I love you mom and I am eternally grateful for all that you did for me. And Dad, I can honestly say, you are one of the main reasons I stand here tonight. Your constant encouragement, support, love, and unfaltering strength throughout the years has been the driving force behind my achievements. I love you so much and I am incredibly thankful to have a man as special as you in my life. No matter how old I get, I promise I will always be your little girl.

And finally, to my fellow classmates, who I’m sure are all ready for me to sit down, I have one last thing to say, so please listen closely for these last few seconds… I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known. My wish for each one of you is that life becomes all that you want it to. Thank you!
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