VALEDICTORIAN: ‘Answer opportunity’s knock’

Clayton Merka, Rockdale High School valedictorian 
Reporter/Cliff Dungan Clayton Merka, Rockdale High School valedictorian Reporter/Cliff Dungan Editor’s note: Following is the valedictory address delivered during commencement exercises by Clayton Merka:

Good evening. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the friends, family and supporters of all Rockdale High School class of 2011 graduates for being here tonight.

I am sure that we can all agree that our many years at Rockdale ISD have been full of precious memories that we will never forget.

Sure, there were many down times, but these are what make us who we are today; graduates from the class of 2011.

As we take this first leap into the rest of our lives, we look back on what it took to get us here. Luckily for us, we had the support of our friends, family and teachers to get through these past years.

From these people, we gained priceless knowledge that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Because of this we should be sure to show our appreciation to all of these people who had an impact on our lives.

Now that we have finished our careers here at Rockdale ISD, we can move on to bigger and better things.

But as we go, we should take with us the knowledge and wisdom in which we have gathered through the years. This is what builds us to be all that we can be.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” We are all our own person and therefore we should all live for ourselves and no one else.

With the future brings a vast array of opportunities for us, or so we hope. We can sit around and wait for opportunity to find us, but we should also consider the words of Milton Berle; “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

As silly as it may sound, these words could not be more accurate. Your dreams begin as opportunities, therefore if you want to see your dreams come true, you should pursue your opportunities the way that you dreamed.

Okay, so that’s a little confusing. Lets just put it this way, if you want to be happy, you must go search for your happiness.

This comes from what my dad has always told me; “Nothing in life is handed to you, if you want something you must work for it.”

Before I go, I would like to do two things. First, I would like to give thanks to the people who are the reason that I am standing here today. I would like to thank my family, especially my mom, for always believing in me and helping me push through the hard times

Most importantly, I would like to thank my brother, the class of 2009 valedictorian, whose example inspired me to push myself to be able to stand here today.

The second thing is to leave my fellow classmates with a bit of advice. I hope that each and every one of you will follow your dreams wherever they may take you.

As you go on, be sure to never forget what you have learned. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Take what you have learned and use it to create your future. Remember, the fate of your future is in your hands, so make your decisions wisely.

Thank you and good luck to all the members of the class of 2011.

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