SALUTATORIAN: ‘Bridging the gap at RHS’

Kelsey Galbreath, Rockdale High School salutatorian 
Reporter/Cliff Dungan Kelsey Galbreath, Rockdale High School salutatorian Reporter/Cliff Dungan Editor’s note: Following is the salutatory address delivered during commencement exercises by Kelsey Galbreath:

I’d like to thank you all for coming, classmates, teachers, administrators, family members and anyone else who got stuck being here.

When I was told that I would be the salutatorian for the Class of 2011, I wondered what I could possibly say to my fellow classmates.

I eventually decided that you guys wanted to hear something profound and inspirational about the future, and so, I began looking for someone else to give this speech.

But instead I did what any desperate high schooler would do in time of need, I went to Google. Needless to say Google had lots of answers, but truth be told, I realized I didn’t want to talk about the future.

I mean, when it comes down to it, I’m just as confused as all of you as to what lies ahead. All I can say about the future is that one day I hope I’ll be able to tell my children about the amazing friendships I’ve formed, all the exotic places I’ve traveled, and all the good times I’ve had.

And when I’m done with that maybe I’ll tell them about high school.

All kidding aside, the task of writing this years speech has sent me down memory road, and the Rockdale High School we entered and the Rockdale High School we are now glad to be leaving. As the class of 2011 we have experienced many changes that bridge the gap between two totally different Rockdales.

First of all as freshmen we entered the Rockdale High School that was built during the prehistoric dinosaur ages. It was so old, most our parents went to that school.

Not that we didn’t enjoy it, some of my favorite memories lie in that old building. I’ll miss the outdated tile, the cobwebs in the trophy case, and I also owe all my tardies to that old building, no thanks to the senior hall.

And the principals, we came to high school running from Mr. Streck and his handy little zip ties that he used for any fashion violations, to that unforgettable voice of Mr. Sanders AKA Big Al, who used to yell as we roamed the halls in terror, worrying that he might actually catch us with holes in our jeans or unshaved facial hair.

The time spent looking back, I can’t figure out what our class has done to go through so many principals, but hang in there Mr. Galetka we are finally leaving. Or at least most of us.

And for the new school. I have little to say but, Oh how we all love it. For we finally have a school with an actual cafeteria and halls wide enough to move.

However the design of the new school made up for a PE credit, as we all were able to get in our exercise walking from English to math.

As a class we’ve definitely had plenty of experiences over our 13 years of school, with the bulk of those being from these past four years.

Through all of the classes we’ve taken, friends we’ve made, fights we’ve seen and had with each other, all the parties we’ve gone to, good times shared with our friends, lunch and after school detentions we’ve sat through (or not sat through), all the nail biting sports we’ve played at or cheered at, and all the videos we’ve watched.

But as I looked back over all our time at RHS, I realized something, the past has passed. There’s little purpose in worrying about our past failures or even basking in the glory of our past accomplishments.

I finally decided my speech shouldn’t be about the future or the past. In other words, I didn’t want to anticipate what hasn’t even materialized or dwell on what’s already vanished.

No mat ter where we have come from in the past or where we a re going in t he f ut u re, what’s important is this present moment.

We are each present at one of the only moments in which all of our life journeys will converge at this single place.

So, even though some of you don’t want these four years to ever come to an end—Michael Fischer—and others can’t wait to get out of this school.

I encourage all of you to focus on the present. Yes, take a last look at your classmates, take a last look at the faculty and administration, and take a last look at Rockdale High School sitting there on the hill.

And in observing the present, I sincerely hope that each of you savor every single moment of your graduation day.

So for the teachers who refused to give up on us, the coaches who pushed us to our limits, the custodians who cleaned up after us all these years, our parents who raised and supported us, the friends we’ve grown up with and the friends we are leaving behind, and the community here tonight—Thank you, our experiences would not be the same without you all.

Congratulations and good luck class of 2011.

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