Friday, June 03, 2016

On this day 20 years ago . . .

. . . I graduated high school!  Pike County High Class of '96!
So the truth is I would've NEVER remembered this date had not several of my classmates posted on our reunion page on Facebook!  But, just for kicks, I climbed up into the attic and pulled my old photo albums and scrapbooks down.
I have LOTS of great memories from my senior year in high school.  It was a fun year.  Among my most favorite memories are Mrs. Crayton's Calculus class, Mrs. Hammond's Creative Writing and English IV classes, the Singers, the two piano four hands Christmas concert my piano teacher and I performed for our community, singing at the lighting of Rich's great tree in Atlanta, finally getting my first car, the cruise to the Bahamas, prom, the senior play, my senior piano recital and, of course, graduation.

Our senior play was Gone With the Breeze.  It was meant to be a spoof of Gone With the Wind.  It was corny as ever, but it was the perfect performance for our class.  I'd been in the One Act plays all four years of high school.  But I was always behind the piano.  That was where I planned to be in my senior play, too, but my best friend convinced me that I should be ON STAGE instead of in the pit.  At this particular time in my life, I was not a fan of being on stage.  At all.  I was even less of a fan of solos and speaking parts.  So not only did she convince me to try out, but she also convinced me to try out for a role that included both a solo and speaking part.  Vicki Rawlins.  My character was a "nobody" that was "discovered" at a pageant in Savannah and deemed "perfect" for the lead role in a new movie.  But Peggy Tempest (played by my best friend!), the real film star, was outraged.  So on and so forth.  The setting was the 70s, the costumes were hilarious and it was just plain fun!

I mean, who doesn't want to be Scarlett O'Hara and wear hoop skirts?

Yes.  Yes, I did.  I'm pretty sure this is the shortest dress I've ever worn in my entire life, and I'm not quite sure why and how I got away with it.  I'm also not quite sure why I'm wearing knee socks.  Did they do that in the 70s?  I very vividly remember picking out those red strappy heels!
Prom was as fun as prom can be in your high school cafeteria.  But we did go out to eat in Atlanta, which was a first for me at the time.  Prom has definitely come a long ways since then!  I loved my dress (I had my heart set on a full sequined dress, and my Mama and her pocketbook indulged me!), I had the best company and it was a good night.

The thing I remember most about my graduation is the cat that came walking towards me in the middle of my speech!  Our graduation was on the football field because that was the only place big enough to accommodate it.  And most people still remember that cat.  You'd think I'd remember my speech, but I don't.  I remember my best friend's speech.  She made the greatest analogy using hands.  It was really neat.  But I can't remember a thing about mine except that cat!
I didn't realize how much of my senior year I held on to.  I journaled each day of the homecoming week festivities, what I did each day of spring break, the cost of various items (a gallon of gas was $1.05, and a Big Mac was $1.99!), movie tickets, class notes, newspaper clippings (in some cases the whole paper!), menus, receipts.  I mean, ridiculous.

So you know what else I saved?  A copy of my meticulously written graduation speech!  And. I. died.

The theme for our graduation was a quote by Thoreau:  If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.  Now put the foundations under them.

Yeah, I don't quite know where that came from.  I'm also quite certain that the majority of us (notice I'm including myself here!) had NO IDEA what it even meant!  There were four graduation speeches that night (Again, I know this only because I still have a copy (or 2 . . . why did I need 2?!) of my graduation program.): reflections, appreciation, achievement and aspirations.

My assigned topic was aspirations.  So listen to this little gem of a speech:

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.  Now put the foundations under them.

For the past 13 years, we, the class of 1996, have been steadfast in constructing our castles.  The foundations we will begin to lay must be strong enough to withstand the trials and temptations and the disappointments and sorrows we may experience.

{I mean, what a BUMMER!  I can't believe people aren't emptying the place!}

They must be stronger still to support our goals and the dreams we have yet to realize.

Success lies in hard work, determination and perseverance.  Follow your dreams and make them happen.  The possibilities for each graduate here today are immeasurable.  Nothing is impossible.  Reach for your highest expectations.  Only you can determine your future.  It will only be what you make of it.

{Laying it on thick!}

We are standing on the brink of many tomorrows and new horizons.  I encourage you to consider each day an adventure full of new surprises and undiscovered treasures.  Only if we seek our treasure wholeheartedly while we find our reward.  Dare to dream.  Challenge yourself to reach out and great your seemingly unreachable treasure.

{I might have laughed so hard at this point that I snorted.} 

Isaiah 33:6 says, "The Lord will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure."

{I mean, thank goodness!  I was getting worried that my speech was a little too "secular!"}

May Jesus Christ be the center of your foundation.  Your castles will never fall when resting upon Him.  The love of your family and friends will be there to guide and comfort you.  They will fortify your foundation.  Allow your trials to strengthen you for others that may come.  Grow quietly in wisdom and in grace.  Enjoy each day you are blessed with and make it special.  Love laughter and radiate happiness.  A smile increases your face value.

{I feel absolutely certain that I stole that last sentence from somebody else and didn't give credit!  I mean, come one!}

Embrace this moment; it is the beginning of a new day, a new opportunity, a lifetime of dreams.

{Said all high school senior graduation speakers everywhere!}

To the accountants, bankers, carpenters, doctors, electricians, fire fighters, geologists, hair dressers, instrumentalists, journalists, kindergarten teachers, lifeguards, mailmen, nurses, optometrists, pilots, quarterbacks, repairmen, secretaries, therapists, urologists, veterinarians, weathermen, x-ray technicians, youth directors and zoologists assembled here today:

{At that time in my life, I thought I was going to be an accountant.  That's what I'd declared my major to be.  UROLOGISTS???  I mean, what in the world did I know about urology???  Maybe I had that on the brain because my grandfather had recently been diagnosed with cancer.  I don't know.  And I'm quite positive none of us are zoologists!  Wonder just how long it took me to come up with this list anyway?!}

You are the future.  You hold the key to all of your tomorrows - unlock your dreams, lay hold of your treasures and make for yourself a firm foundation.


My dear friends, the graduating class of 1996, I leave you with the words of Joshua 1:9.  "Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

{Well, at least it ended on a good note!}

These girls were my dearest friends, and it was such an honor to share that night with them.  My girl there in the middle was honored this week as Teacher of the Year for her school.

Twenty years.  Wow.  It really and truly seems like just yesterday . . .  

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