Friday, July 2, 2010

Sam Lee, guest blogger

Here is Northern Highlands Regional High School graduate, Sam Lee & his proud family posing for a picture. Sam's peers selected his speech for presentation at our school's graduation. I found his words inspirational and invited him to share them on my site as a guest blogger.

"Fellow graduates, parents, faculty, and staff, you are staring at the next American Idol. Ok, perhaps not, but it sounds nice, doesn’t it?

According to Winston Churchill, we should “never give in (to defeat). Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small”. But the fact still remains. I can’t sing. I’ve had my try at singing- in the showers, in class, in front of the mirror and in the presence of my friends. And to be honest, I’m not the next Kelly Clarkson!

So then, what makes each of us unique? Why is our graduating class the best class in NJ, in the United States, in the world even? Why is Highlands so special? Is it because we’re DECA weapons, because we know how and when to get the best cookies in the cafeteria, or is it because we know that UIB stands for “User is blocked”?

Take a look at the person next to you. Do you see an actor, a doctor, or an NFL superstar? As for me, when I look at the Class of 2010, I don’t see “the future” or “this great beginning” that will end in all of us being movie stars and CEOs and supermodel divas.

I won’t use the tedious one-liners like “we are the next generation” or “follow your dreams and win big” and say that all 314 of us- just us, of course- will go out and change the world. But there’s always potential, always.

So then what about the short and stubby third grader who says he’ll be the next Yao Ming? Isn’t it ok to joke about that and say “it’ll never happen”? How about the shy brace face that says she’ll be the next Lady Gaga, and the class bully that wants to become a teacher?

It’s easy to laugh and joke or cast aside goals that seem “impossible”, and it’s all too familiar when we’re discouraged by adversity. But often, we find ourselves in a trap where it’s not others who discourage us or the size of our obstacles. Too often, it’s our own self defeating thoughts, our fears and worries.

Sometimes, all we need to do is stop thinking for a moment, and forget our anxieties about how silly we look or how incapable we are. If you want to “Dance with the Stars”, dance. If you want to be a singer, then sing. Let’s step out of our comfort zones and take a chance. When the Soulja Boy music is blasting on the dance floor, grab a friend and start the “crank”. Pull out the chicken wing or the chest pop if you have to. Just do it!

Congratulations Class of 2010. And, when the music fades, and we see that microphone on the open stage, let’s grab it, and whether we squeak or squeal or screech out of tune, let’s sing our hearts out."

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