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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
May 29, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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May 29, 2019

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May 29, 2019 Page 7A Reporter A VALEDICTORY ADDRESS by Ri[yn McKai[ip lli ! I Rilyn McKallip, valedic- torian of the Mary Persons Class of 2019, delivered this address at graduation on Fr/day. McKallip is headed to the University of Richmond. ood evening, and welcome to the Mary Per- sons High School graduation. BEFORE I begin, I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all the blessings he has given me. I would like to thank the amazing administra- tion at both the school and county level, for all that you do to ensure the success of the school system and each individual student. I would also like to thank the amaz- ing faculty at Mary Persons and all of Monroe County Schools, who have made an enormous impact in the life of each graduate here tonight by not only educat- ing us, but also inspiring and empowering us to become the best version of ourselves. Last but certainly not least, I would like to thank all of our parents and family, who have provided unending love, support and guidance for the past 18 years, and who have helped shape us -into the people we are today. Thank you all so much, for without these amazing people, we would not have accomplished what we are here to celebrate. WELL, CLASS of 2019, we did it! We made it through four years of high school, and now we are about to start a new era in our lives. But before we dis- perse and take on the chal- lenges and joys of the com- ing years, I want to reflect on our past four years. Every- one here had a different path through high school, and each of us cherish different memories that define our high school experience. Some of us will remember cheering for the Bulldogs in the student section, rain or shine, while others, like myself, will remember playing the fight song dur- ing every one of our team's many touchdowns. Many were also cheering on the players from the sidelines, or playing in the game itself. For some of you, the defin- ing moments of high school were when you performed on stage in some amaz- ing musicals, when you ran cross country races in the grueling heat, or when you organized community service projects for your dub. Whether sports, the arts, clubs or classes, we all competed and celebrated in the same Bulldog spirit. We each remember our favorite classes, where we learned things that made us excited, and we remember our less than favorite classes. Though we all have different experi- ences from high school, we have some memories in common. We remember enjoying homecoming pep rallies, beating Jackson in every single rivalry football game, and hoping for our names to be called out by Dr. Finch as the "CHAMP shoutout of the day!" Now, we are all here together making one final memory as Mary Persons High School students, and I am so honored to share with you these few moments dur- ing this celebration of your wonderful accomplishment of graduating high school. It is my hope that some of the things I say today will resound with you, and that you will carry them with you as you embark on this next chapter of your lives. MY FIRST piece of advice is to not let your successes define you. You are more than a title, an award, a trophy or anything else you have achieved. We are here to celebrate our successes in high school which have culminated in us earning our diplomas. Enjoy the many benefits that come with a high school diploma, but realize that there is so much more yet to achieve. For some of us, it is going to college to study our favorite subjects and prepare for a career, and for others, it is leaming a trade and entering the workforce doing some- thing you love. Others still are going to the military to serve our country to protect our freedoms, and for that I applaud you. In whatever you do, never settle, or say that you are the best you can be. Keep striving to learn and to grow, in everything you do, every day. In your failures and your successes, realize that you are never . done, you will never reach your peak, because you are never done improving. You have limitless potential, and you all have wonderful things ahead of you. THE SECOND thing I want to tell you all is to do what you love, seeking personal accomplishments rather than the approval or admiration of the world. Often, we try to please or impress others with our accomplishments, whether it is eaming a good grade or securing a spot on the varsity sports team. While these accolades are great, and it is wonderful to feel appreciated by the people we care about, we need to make sure that we are motivated intemally by our passions and interests, rather than externally by other people's expectations. Three years ago I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined the MP track team. To say I was not the fastest two miler on the team is an understatement. But I got more joy from accomplish- ing my own personal goals than any medal could ever give me. My first year goal was simply to not get lapped by every other runner on the track. But I made small improvements each season. This season my personal goal was to break 15 min- utes. In the last meet of the season I ran a great race and a personal best of 15:01. I was crushed not to meet my goal, and for a moment I felt like my whole season was a failure. But when I was able to reflect on all that I had ac- complished over three years I could see that the real ac- complishment was in doing something I wasn't naturally good at, setting goals and sometimes achieving them. I had fun, and I met some amazing friends I wouldn't have Otherwise met. If you seek only to impress others with your successes rather than developing your own interests, any success you accomplish will never be enough. Earn good grades because you are motivated to be your very best. Play a sport because you truly love it. Find what it is that you are AVAILABLE! Fenced & Lighted 17 Day Access 814 Hwy 41 South. F0rsyth, GA 31029 Your Heart Our Hands CENTRAL GEORGIA HEART & VEIN CENTER Physicians You Trust passionate about, and then pursue it. It is not easy to put yourself out there and do the things you truly care about, and there will be setbacks and failures. But the perse- verance through the trials produces the sweetest and most rewarding blessings. James 1:12 says, "'Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him ' Ultimately, you will be happier and more fulfilled when you do the things that are meaningful to you, and when you persevere through the setbacks that life throws your way. HIGH SCHOOL for us is over. Though we all may look back on high school with varying degrees of fondness, I will venture to say that nobody here is leaving the halls of Mary Persons High School exactly the same as they entered them in 9th grade, and that we will continue to grow and change every day for the rest of our lives. Author William Faulkner once said, "Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contem- poraries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.' I encourage you all to con- tinue to strive for excellence, and to pursue the things you love. Never let anyone, including yourself, set a limit on what you can achieve. Your entire life is before you, and the possibilities are limitless. Class of 2019, I am so proud of all that you have already accomplished, and : I cannot wait to see all that you do. Thank you. Heating & A/C, Inc. 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