Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Graduation Day

Saturday was a big day for Kaytlin.  After attending IQ Academy throughout her high school years, it was graduation day.  In a crowd, Kaytlin is shy and reserved and hates to be in the spotlight.  However, due to her academic achievement, she was valedictorian of her class of 39 students from across the state of Kansas.  This meant she had the honor and privilege of addressing her classmates and several hundred people in attendance.  To say the least, we were proud of her achievements, but mostly we were proud of her courage to stand up and speak out about her faith in God. 

I thought a few of you might enjoy reading her speech, as many were not able to travel and be at her graduation.

Being introduced before her speech

Kaytlin's Valedictory Address

 Do you remember what it was like to be 5, 10, or 15? Our journey through childhood is like a mountain. As children, adulthood seemed so far away, like a snowy summit covered in cloud. Then we hit our senior year, and we realized, just ten more, just five more steps, and we'd be there. We're all there now, panting, singing, dancing. The view is gorgeous. We can see for miles upon miles: valleys, rivers, trees, and meadows – our future laid out before us like a dinner spread. The wind whips around our faces and dances through our hair, and we feel for the first time that we might actually have wings.

But wait. What's this that towers yet above us? Another mountain? No, a whole score of mountains. Their jagged peaks send shivers down our spines, and the wind now blasts icy cold against our faces. The mountain we just climbed looks like an anthill. We feel like tiny pebbles, plummeting helplessly down the mountainside. Once again, our dreams seem out of reach. For we scale one mountain, only to climb another.

With a heavy heart and growing fears, I realized this as beginning to prepare for college. I know the future will hold its share of hurt as well as joy, because I'm human, and I make mistakes. Things will happen that I know I won't be able to control. The future often frightens me. However, I am told that the mountaintop experience is well worth the climb, and standing here, I know it's true.

No matter who we are, we will face trials and hardships, but every broken bone and bruise will be worth it when we reach the top. Every peak we climb will be more beautiful than the one before it. As a friend told me, “We just have take each day one step at a time, and ask the Lord for guidance along the way.” The reward? Our dreams. They may not be fulfilled exactly how we planned, but if we persevere to the end, a life well-lived is a life worth living.

Sometimes we will reach points where we are simply to weak to go on, but that's why God is there. That's why we have parents and teachers and friends. Just looking back at my high school days, I know I couldn't have made it on my own. No one can. Many times I needed advice from my Mom or Dad or brother. Whether I decided to take their advice or not, their efforts weren't futile. Sometimes I just needed to know they cared.

Other times I simply needed a belly laugh or kiss from my baby brother or a smile from a sibling to keep me moving, and many, many times, words of encouragement from a teacher gave me new energy I thought I'd never find. So thank you, family, teachers, and friends for your part in making today possible. You've left footprints on our hearts that no man can erase.

We know all of you won't be with us we climb our next mountains, but know that the work you've done here and now will still push us forward as we start this new stage in life. We will meet new friends, maybe even start our own families, and God will always be there. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and even with faith as small as a mustard seed, he promises we can move mountains.

So let's dream on, graduates. As Harley King says, May your dreams be larger than mountains and may you have the courage to scale their summits.” Choose your mountain. Don't let your fears hold you back. The future is waiting.


  1. WOW!!!!! Very smart girl. I am sure she will go far in her life. When you put GOD first things will be much better.