Today's featured graduation speech  was given by Josiah Hesterberg of Armstrong Township High School. The school's graduation ceremony was May 20, 2012.
I'm still featuring graduation speeches by high schoolers on my blog, and I'd love more submissions. If you gave a speech at your high school graduation, will you email me the text, a photo of you in cap and gown and a brief description of your plans for next year? My email address is meg(at)news-gazette.com
On behalf of Superintendant Mulvaney, Principal Loschen, teachers, and the graduating class of 2012, I would like to welcome all of you to the graduation ceremony of Armstrong Township High School.
Congratulations Class of 2012. This is a very special day for all of us and our families.
I am honored to have the opportunity to speak at my high school graduation. Never before in my life have I received such a distinguished honor that includes the privilege to write an extra homework assignment and then read it publicly to hundreds of people.
I would like to thank our families for all they have done for us. I especially want to thank my parents for all their love and support. Mom, I never could have done it without you. From teaching me the first 8 years of school to proofreading my English papers, I appreciate all you have sacrificed for me. Dad, thank you for teaching me that hard work pays off and gives a sense of accomplishment.
I would also like to thank our teachers for all their efforts, even if we didn't appreciate it at the time. Mr. Harlan, thank you for putting up with me for four long years. You have taught us many new skills, but I don't know if I'll ever understand all the reasons for making us keep such detailed record books.
My fellow graduates, I would like to challenge you with a few quick thoughts. Charles Lazarus said, "Hard work is the key to success, so work diligently on any project you undertake. If you truly want to be successful, be prepared to give up your leisure time and work past 5 PM and on weekends. Also, have faith in yourself. If you come up with a new idea that you believe in, don't allow other people to discourage you from pursuing it." Many people think hard work is a bad word, but it is actually the means to your future success. The only way to ever realize your potential, and to achieve your goals, dreams, and aspirations, is to work hard.
I wish each of you the very best in the future. Always remember, striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven't planted.
Next year, Josiah Hesterberg will study agri-business and diesel technology at Parkland College.
Photo submitted by Dan Hesterberg.