Whether or not you believe in the Mayan prediction that the world will irrevocably change in December, 2012, for thousands of high school seniors this year really does represent, in the words of the band R.E.M., “the end of the world as we know it.” This month, more than a decade of hard work and perseverance by myself and many of my fellow seniors across the country culminates in one of the ultimate accomplishments of young adulthood – high school graduation. Simply put, life will never be the same, even if Earth keeps spinning.
For some of us, the road to this point hasn’t been entirely smooth. At Hononegah High School’s graduation this coming Saturday, many attributes and abilities that contributed to student success will be celebrated, but I believe that, at least in my experience, no trait proved more essential to making graduation possible than perseverance. My road to graduation included one significant roadblock that threatened to derail my academic career before it had essentially begun. I tried and tried, but could not achieve that most basic of school necessities in the first grade: the ability to read. Only through countless hours spent studying at home and at school, often while the other children played during recess, did I manage to enhance my reading skills and avoid a second year of the first grade. While I must acknowledge the important role my parents and teachers played in changing the trajectory of my schoolwork, I also think that my own perseverance at a young age played a significant role in establishing the achievement standards I will continue to uphold while at the University of Notre Dame and during life after college.
“It’s the end of the world as we know it,” but despite any speed bumps I faced on the road to graduation, or perhaps because of these obstacles, “I feel fine.”