Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mitchell Manning Graduation Speech

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be
one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the
undergrowth. Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear." This piece from a poem by Robert Frost is
challenging the reader to not take the easy way because the route that everyone takes
may not be the best decision. The poem ends with, “I shall be telling this with a sigh
somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the
one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” So to all of you graduates,
when you are faced with a tough decision, look for an alternative route, one that can
result in a greater outcome even if it requires more work. Often times I hear the biggest
regrets people have when they reflect on their past aren’t things they have done, but
the things they never did. When you’re older and look back, will you be happy with the
path you took, the choices you made? This is your chance to start off your life great,
right now. You can have anything your heart desires if you start applying yourself from
this point on. Don’t wait for something to be given to you, because that likely won’t
happen, you have to go out and pursue it.

I find it hard to believe that my class and I are sitting here today in the position
of the people who have sat in these seats countless times before us. It’s hard to
imagine that we are now those people—the ones who will be missed by their
underclassmen, the ones who will be sent off by their parents, the ones who will finally
be going to college. I remember when my brother had just graduated from high school
eight years ago; he told me, “Enjoy it while it lasts because it goes by fast.” And at that
time, I was probably thinking yeah, sure. But that’s really what everyone says, and
everyone says it because it’s the reality. Time does go by fast—in the blink of an eye. I
often times think about this and try to think of ways I can make the moment last, how I
can make it memorable. They say to take a look around, take it in. I’ve done that—on
the football field of my last game, in the classroom with my classmates, and even
walking down the hallway for the last time as a student here. I’ve thought about those
moments I knew would be my lasts, but it doesn’t necessarily change anything. The
most important thing you can do is just enjoy it, don’t dwell on it. I believe a
fundamental factor in life is to not fill your days with so much work that you don’t make
time for the little things. Spend time doing activities you enjoy, hang out with friends,
and go on some trips. That's my advice to my fellow classmates as you begin your
next journey in life.

I speak for myself and my classmates when I say thank you to the many
teachers and coaches who have helped us become respectable graduates who are
ready to step into the next process of life. Remembering from football practice,
something that will stick with me is the sweet sound of “ready ready” after either me or
one of my teammates made a careless mistake. That is not a phrase you wanted to
hear on a cold, rainy day, simply because that phrase means up-downs and probably a
lot of them. I’m not really sure if I’ll miss that part too much. However, the biggest
thank you goes to the parents for your relentless support and love for all of us. Without
you, we surely wouldn’t have been able to afford that double-scooped cone of ice cream
when we were four years old.

Speaking of some memories, well we’ve had a lot of them, and a lot of them
weren’t always intelligent. Like the time when Peyton made a video presentation for our
science class on axils, and it was literally just a video of him driving around for ten
minutes explaining how the steering wheel works. Another presentation that didn’t go
so well was when Theron had a slide show of a certain element and one of the slides
was in a completely foreign language. Our class’s trip to get the school’s Christmas
tree was also quite the experience. It consisted of Johnny and Katherine trying to
tackle each other in the snow, while the rest of us were finding a tree that would make
it through the doors. Once we got it in, we did a little cleaning around the tree, and as
smart as we are, we used the janitor’s vacuum to clean up the pine needles. Yeah…
that got clogged pretty quickly, and I’m not even sure if it worked after that. And of
course, the senior trip to Colorado to go skiing had its ups and downs. From the start,
riding in the van with Blake was interesting because he had to point out basically every
rock he saw, and he wasn’t convinced there was actually going to be any snow on the
mountain when we got there. Peyton and Colton were both mercilessly dragged
underneath the ski lift, and almost everyone immediately fell after about the first thirty
feet onto the snow trail. But besides that, it was a lot of fun.

There is one last thing I want to leave you with, and that is if you get the chance
to make a memory or learn something, then please take it, because you might not get
that opportunity again. Thank you, everyone, but most of all, congratulations to the
Class of 2019!

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