Good evening class of 2019. Congratulations, we made it! At this time, I would like to take a moment to thank our dedicated teachers, counselors and coaches who went above and beyond to see their students succeed. To our families and friends, thank you for your continuous love and support. Finally, I would like to thank East High itself for wonderfully developing future generations, one broken bathroom at a time.
Throughout our time at East we've faced many challenges. Like staying up late to finish that important speech we put off for days. We've witnessed historic events like multiple programs sending teams down to compete at state. We've also come together as a community to make a difference in not only Rockford, but across the entire globe. But the most important aspect that I have taken from my four years at East is that mind matters. Whether it's going into that econ test for Rowald or an anticipated regional game against Boylan or even a food packaging event, it is always important to go into things with a positive attitude. In the real world, we will be faced with challenges, some of which may seem impossible to overcome. Some will make you want to retreat to your parents' basement. Stay positive and know that nothing great comes easy. Think your success into existence, because the only thing in the world you can control is your attitude. And remember, it's hard to beat someone who never gives up.
Finally, just enjoy life. I believe most of us are familiar with the TV show SpongeBob SquarePants. One character, Larry the Lobster, is known to be simplistic and to enjoy life as it happens while not being afraid of failure or embarrassment. Spongebob and Patrick decide to try "living like Larry" which they think means living in the moment and not thinking about consequences. This leads to SpongeBob and Patrick getting hurt, which helps Larry realize that he needs to clarify the concept of "living like Larry." He defines "living like Larry" as living life to the fullest while not hurting yourself or your reputation. I believe we could all learn a thing or two from Larry. To remember to enjoy life and not just monotonously go through the motions of everyday. I am not saying you have to live the most fantastic life, but just make sure you chase your passions. When the opportunity comes make sure you firmly grasp it in your hand.
With all I have said today, I am going to pursue what I love, not be afraid of adversity and genuinely appreciate life. I am certain we all have a bright future ahead of us because I know that – not just I – but all of us have the ability to start "living like Larry." After all, we control our own future, so let's make it a good one.
Tommy Le's valedictorian address was originally presented at the 2019 East High School graduation ceremony.
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