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MAHS 2010 graduation speeches, Photo Gallery

Valedictorian Address

Tasaneeya Viratyosin

Good evening. First of all, on behalf of the Morris Area High School graduating class of 2010, I would like to thank everyone present for attending today's commencement exercises. Thank you to all of you who have supported us, educated us, and shaped many of us into self-aware, socially conscious individuals, whether in your capacity as teacher, coach, or parent. I would like to thank all those in the classroom, the community, and outside who have contributed their time and talents to fostering future success.

I am thankful for the honor of addressing this year's graduating class. As I contemplated exactly what I would write, I realized I wanted to give something unique and meaningful. But how does one sufficiently sum up 13 years in only a few minutes? On one hand, there was so much that I wanted to say, and on the other, I was at a loss for words. Really, I think I came down with a rather severe case of writer's block.

I was advised to focus less on high school memories, since, quite understandably, my high school experience was not typical. But then I thought to myself, isn't that the point? Isn't the purpose of a meaningful educational experience, that each individual takes from it his or her own unique approach and value? I address you as the graduating class of 2010, but you are more than that. You are 76 individuals with unique passions, experiences, and ambitions. As each of you embarks on a different path, I implore you: Don't forget that.

It's ironic to discuss individuality when the entire senior class is finally in uniform. But all of us have found ourselves in a situation where it's easier to say yes than no, where it easier to agree with the majority rather than dissent and speak one's mind. Don't be afraid to speak out, even if it does make you unpopular. After all, the right words aren't always the ones that will gain the most support. Don't be afraid to be the minority.

Too often, I've noticed this has not been the case. Too many are afraid to speak, preferring to take the easier choice and sacrifice their integrity to avoid conflict. Indeed, high school has been a place for "fitting in". Look not just for a place in this world where you will belong, where you will simply "fit in", but where you will stand out. This thought brings to mind a quote by Margaret Mead that I walk past nearly every day: "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed that's the only thing that ever has." Any one of us has the potential to be a part of this small group of committed individuals.

When I think of a great education, I think of one which invokes us to read critically, think thoroughly, and moreover, question profusely. Read critically. In this Information Age, it is incredibly easy to get lost in the deluge of, well, information. But it's not enough just to read profusely; it's more important to read profoundly. Not only ask yourself: what is the content, but what is the purpose? What is the context?

And be skeptical. Question everything. Never accept the assertion: that's the way it's always been done. If everyone had accepted this assumption, what progress would there be in the world? Do not merely have faith: find proof. Rather than believe blindly, think for yourself, and draw your own conclusions. Too many conflicts arise from parties which refuse to see past their own ungrounded assertions and reason. As cliché as this will sound, keep an open mind.

Euripides once said, "there is just one life for each of us: our own." So I hope that each of you makes the most of your one life. However you choose to live, as you leave these halls, make a life you can take pride in.

On a final note, the term, valedictorian, is a derivation of the Latin phrase vale dicere, meaning, "to say farewell". So I bid you farewell, good fortune in your present and future endeavors, and thank you.

Valedictorian Address

Jackson Henrich

I would like to start out by thanking the staff and administration that have helped us all grow up and mature in school throughout the years. I think it is also well deserved to extend a very gracious thank you and acknowledgment to all of the citizens of our great community. These people have made the experiences we have gone through possible with the amazing facilities that we are able to use everyday from their support of our school district. Many of us may take a gym or a concert hall for granted, but we have really been rewarded with all of these excellent resources that our community has helped provide. Our class has been fortunate to have these tremendous places to look back upon through our experiences in this school.

As we leave here today we will all take different memories from the time we have spent in this school away with us, from classes to sports, or just being around our friends. One of the greatest things I will remember from school is how glad I am that I have been given the chance to be involved in such a wide variety of opportunities. From the education I have received, to band, jazz band, art, athletics, student council, and National Honor Society. I believe that being involved in such a diverse collection of activities has made me a well rounded individual and done a fine job of preparing me for future schooling at college. Although Morris Area is not the largest school, it is still evident that there are many chances for students to be involved wherever they choose to make their own experiences memorable, whether that is working on cars, building robots, or working on math problems.

While all of us were going through this educational step in life, we were also able to do things with friends that made the time we have spent in high school more fun and enjoyable. Some of the fun memories that stand out the most in my mind over the course of the last year were being the first senior Power Tuff volleyball team to defeat the faculty singing at the Mr. Tiger food shelf fundraiser, and playing some intense badminton with my friends on snow days. All of these extra events have helped to make school more memorable and enjoyable over the years we have spent together in class.

Throughout all of the past experiences that our class has gone through, I believe there are other lessons that we have learned which are of equal if not greater importance to us. These lessons will act as stepping stones for all of us to work off of in the future. We have learned many different valuable ideas from how to study and that procrastinating is not a good habit, to cooperating with peers and teachers, dedicating ourselves to work and activities, and even how to park a car properly in the student parking lot. These lessons, along with others, will aid us in being prepared to face whatever adversity life may bring us in the future.

One piece of advice or a message that I would like to leave my class and peers with, would be that almost any goal can be reached by dedicating yourself to what you want to achieve. I believe that I am a good example of representing this idea. I do not see myself as a genius by any means, rather I am person who sets goals then works hard and diligently to achieve them for a sense of self-fulfillment. One of the expectations that I had when I started my freshman year of school was that I would apply myself the best I could in all of my classes. Being up here speaking now shows how this expectation acted as a major driving force within me to fulfill that goal.

Along with this dedication to work and reaching personal goals come ups and downs that will impact all of us within the future courses that we take in life. Working through the struggles that life throws at us shows our true character and our determination to be successful in achieving what we strive to reach for in life. Keeping these thoughts in mind: your own future lies in your hands and only you can determine what that may be. I would like to wish the senior class the best for whatever their future has in store for them and in the paths that they will be taking within the next year.

I again would like to thank the school with all of its employees including the cooks, bus drivers, administration, and teachers, as well as all of those in our community who have played a role in helping us achieve this step in our lives through their involvement and support. Thank you.

Salutatorian Address

Emma Roberts

Welcome to the Graduation of the Morris Area High School Class of 2010. I am honored to be speaking on my classmates' behalf. This day marks a day of celebration, a day of memories, and a day of achievement. It marks the end of a tremendous journey.

High school has been a journey for all of us, and we have made it together. Over the years, we have sat together during pep rallies and football games; we have gathered in the auditorium for motivational speakers and gathered in classrooms for standardized tests. It's hard to believe that this may be the last time we ever sit together as a class.

Many of us have been together for 13 years. In elementary school, we played recorders together, launched rockets, had each other on our "five miles," and suffered through our Minnesota history projects. In high school, we've cheered each other on in sports, studied for tests together, and these last few weeks walked around the hallways to avoid going to class. Even those of you who joined us more recently, we all have memories of each other that will last forever.

As I look out at all of you, I am reminded of an endless amount of memories: birthday parties and movie parties, swim practice with Alex and Kelsey, playing low brass in band with Lincoln, Jackson, and Grant. Waiting to get into the National Archives building for three hours in Washington DC on the band and choir trip, the Prom Committee breaking into the school last spring and getting into loads of trouble ... I will never forget these moments I've had with all of you. With a school as small as Morris, we have always been there for each other. We have truly grown up together.

I am proud to be part of such a talented, friendly, and fun senior class. We have a guy who will wear a Spandex body suit on national television, a girl with a perfect ACT score, guys who will wear short skirts to school on Halloween, and a guy who can swim faster than anyone in school history.

We have many outstanding athletes, scholars, musicians, actors, and artists. We have people who have been dedicated to three sports throughout all of their high school years, people who have spent months rehearsing for plays, and people who have been challenging themselves in college-level classes these past two years. We have people who know exactly what they want to do with their lives ... and some who don't.

I am happy to say that we are a friendly class, and I thank you for that. We have people who will stay up way too late texting us when we're feeling depressed or cheering us up when we did badly on a test. We owe a lot to each other for all the help and support we've given each other over the years. For example, I will never forget when Drew Hormann and his giant blue truck rescued my little brown Honda from a snow bank last winter. We have so many people who will gladly give up their time to help someone in need, people who write songs for their chemistry class, and people who make cakes for every special occasion. We are all unique and different, yet at the same time we have so much in common.

We have been so lucky to get an education at Morris Area High School. So many teachers work hard to make this school what it is. We have math teachers who taught us over and over again how to find the roots of polynomials, no matter how many times we didn't get it, science teachers who created interesting lab experiments for us from a tiny budget, a FACS teacher who patiently helped all of us sew pajamas shorts in 8th grade, and English teachers who helped us get all the work cited to be completely perfect in our research papers. All of our teachers have put so much time and effort into teaching us and putting up with us over the years. They deserve a round of applause ... Remember to thank them after this. The knowledge they have given us will always be with us. We will never be able to thank them enough.

We have some other people to thank as we celebrate our graduation. There are hundreds of people who have worked behind the scenes to make our high school experience a great one. There are the janitors who have helped us open our lockers, cleaned up for us after dances, and even let the Robotics team have a room of their own. There are para-professionals and teachers and other staff members who have stayed hours after school to let us finish something. There are coaches who have made us strong athletes and given us experiences of a lifetime. There is Mr. Coquyt, Mr. Monson, Jill, Rita, and now Kay, who do all the things that keep Morris Area High School running. And we can't forget all of the businesses in Morris who have donated money and prizes for homecoming and prom and Book of Records and nearly everything our school does. Thank you to all of them. We are lucky to have grown up in a community like Morris, with people who care about us and want us to succeed.

And then of course, above all, we have to thank our parents. All of us who are graduating today are here because of them. They got us out of bed when we had to be at school early, they helped us with adding fractions in elementary school, and maybe helped us proofread a paper or two this year. They have provided endless love and support for us over the years. We owe everything to them.

Tonight's graduation is the culmination of all our hard work and commitment. We have put so much effort into our education, from that first day of kindergarten to slaving away on that English paper a few weeks ago to now as we await the satisfaction of our diplomas in our hands. This is an important day in our lives. We should all feel proud. Enjoy it. Have fun. Thank you all, and congratulations once again to the class of 2010.