Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Valedictory Speeches

Hey, Y'all,
Well, next month, all over our country (and others) millions of teenagers will be graduating from high school, and there are also millions who won't, for one reason or another. Sixty years ago, next month, I was one of those graduates. When I began high school in the unincorporated town of New Market, there were 45 freshmen. By the time I graduated in 1951, there were five boys and twelve girls. There would have been thirteen girls, but one of them became ill with cancer and passed away. That was my first knowledge of something like cancer taking people away.

I was striving for good grades all through high school, but was surprised when my home room teacher informed me that I was to be valedictorian of the class and told me that my rival in grades, Allan D., was to be salutatorian. That was the first I had ever heard of such titles. She gave me a prepared speech that I was to memorize and give at our graduation exercises. 

Through the years, I have remembered (mostly) the poem that I had to recite. I have also taken great pride in the fact of achieving that honor. I gave little credit to where it was due...to my parents for always encouraging me, to God for giving me the mental abilities, and the circumstances which provided me the chance to become all that I could be. I know that if I had chosen not to work hard through the years in school, it would not have turned out well, but I reckon maybe it was just in my genes and I know I owe a lot more to others than to my own self. 

Here is the poem, not as I remember all the words, but as it was written by Douglas Malloch. I had to look it up to make sure of them all. Sixty years, after all, is a long time to remember exactly. 

If you can't be a pine on top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley - but be,
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

If you can't be a bush, be a bit of the grass,
And some highway some happier make;
If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass-
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here.
There's big work to do and there's lesser to do,
And the task we must do is the near.

If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail- 
Be the best of whatever you are!

I located this poem on the internet (to check the accuracy of my memory) and if you are a lover of poetry as I am, you might want to check out the website and read some of the other poems in the book. http://www.pinkpoem.com

I wrote about being valedictorian not for praise today, but to give thanks to God for the advantages that He has provided in my lifetime. 

Seniors, don't stop learning, don't stop reading until you have to, then listen to books on tape, and keep the old brain cells stirred up and active. Young people, ditto, keep learning, if you write, keep writing. Lastly, (and not least) remember from whence you came and the Creator who gives you life.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Much love to each of you, my friends and family. More later. Bye for now. 


Margie's Musings said...

Interesting story, Ruby.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Very interesting Ruby and excellently written.


Marjorie said...

A very fitting poem to be reading for high school graduates.

Penned Pebbles said...

Love that poem, thanks for sharing! Blessings!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Congratulations on being your class valedictorian. That's quite an accomplishment. And you're absolutely right about continuing to learn. The fact that you have this blog proves that you practice what you preach, too!

Grammy said...

Thank you all so much for your visit and comments.