Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Message From 1987: Live Every Year to the Fullest

Going through some old scrapbooks I found a type-written speech I gave to the Melbourne High School Class of 1987. A nice reminder from 17 year-old-me to 40-something me.


Good afternoon. My name is Brooke Deratany and this year it has been my pleasure to serve as President of the Student Body.

After 13 years of schooling, we have finally arrived at the day when it all starts paying off. Today is perhaps our greatest day yet. It is one filled with pride, relief, and eager anticipation. Friends, whether or not the reality has struck yet, today is the day we stand a little taller and take a great step forward, as we actually graduate from Melbourne High School.

Many of us became acquainted in kindergarten as we began our journey through the Brevard County School System. Still more of us met at one point or another as we proceeded in our quest for the better understanding and brighter future that only an education can provide. It does not matter in which state or country you began your journey. What is more important is the fact that today we are all here together to share in the glory of reaching our destination.

In my opinion, the greatest characteristic of humankind is individuality. Every person in this room has characteristics, attitudes, and feelings unique to him or herself. Even so, I know there is one feeling that all of us share today, whether we are a graduating senior, parent, teacher, or administrator. We all share that feeling of pride. And why shouldn't we? Getting to this point took a group effort, and everyone here must have done something right, or we would not be assembled here today. Allow yourselves to feel that pride and smile, because you certainly deserve it.

I know I speak for every Senior here when I say, "Thank you." Thank you to the loving parents, family members, and friends; to the superior educators, wise administrators, and overworked counselors. Growing up can be pretty scary, but with all of you there to guide us and support us, the Melbourne High School Class of 1987 can say, "I made it! I'm here. I'm ready to take charge of the rest of my life, and be the best I can be!" Yes, you have made this day possible.

And fellow Seniors, we can make a difference in this world. Think about it, we are the future. That's a pretty big responsibility, but I know we can do it and whatever your goals may be, whatever your dreams entail, reach for the stars. And as you climb and stretch and reach, never forget one thing -- be happy. Because when it comes right down to it, happiness is the most important thing in this world. You know, there are so many wonderful things on this earth, especially when you live in a free country. It baffles the mind to ponder the innumerable opportunities to obtain success and happiness. Do you realize that you could go on learning for the rest of your life and still never know everything? Do not let the high school diploma you are about to receive be an end of that learning. Instead, let it be a beginning, a foundation on which to build your future happiness.

It has been said that the teenage years are the best years of one's life. Granted, these years have been pretty great. But don't for even a moment think that the greatness is over. You see, far too many people waste their lives wishing they were another age, or living at another time. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with remembering the good old times or looking forward to what the future will bring, in fact, I encourage these pleasant thoughts. What I am saying is you should keep in mind that every year has its greatness, and if you spend your whole life wishing you were older or younger, you'll miss out on the fun of being the age you are. I challenge you to live every year of your lives to its fullest; to savor the beauty of each moment, and appreciate its uniqueness and fine qualities. If you do this, my friends, you will have found the key to that happiness I know you all seek.

I want to thank all of you for sharing these past years with me. They hold memories I know we will all treasure for the rest of our lives. We've had some good times and made some great friends. We have not only learned historical facts, trig functions, and the proper use of the comma, but also about relationships and life in general. Now, it's time to move on; time to make use of this vast knowledge, time to smile because the world awaits us. I want to wish each and every one of you the best of luck throughout your life. It's only just begun, you know, and it can only be as great as you choose to make it.