THE MALDEN ADVOCATE–Friday, June 7, 2024 Page 7 Malden High Valedictorian Colby Parkey Graduation Speech Thank you! I would like to begin today by The following remarks were delivered by Malden High School Class of 2024 Valedictorian Colby Parker — the #1-ranked student— on Graduation Day, June 2, 2024 fi rst time. acknowledging everyone who has taken the time to be here today. Thank you for your continued support and for everything you have done over the years that has enabled us all to become the people we are today. If you will indulge me for just a few moments, I’d also like to acknowledge a few people here today that have made a profound impact on our class. To Mayor Christenson, thank you for being here and for your ongoing support of Malden High School. To Principal Mastrangelo, thank you for setting the tone for our school. Your eff orts on a daily basis have not only created a positive learning environment for all, but an unbreakable bond that brings and holds our school together. To our class advisors, Ms. Kirby, Ms. Webber and Ms. Votaw. Your tireless support on this journey is appreciated more than we can ever express. On a more personal note, I would also like to thank Coach Copithorne, Mr. Marques, Ms. Campbell, and Ms. Jones. If it were not for these four amazing individuals, I don’t believe I would be up here speaking in front of you all today. They have always been there for me and I could not imagine high school without them. Finally, to my own parents and family, thank you for your continued guidance and motivation throughout the years. It is your unwavering support that has allowed me to reach this point and that will guide me in the years to come. This time of year, High Schools all across the country are gathering just like we are today to recognize their graduates and send them out into the world. Many of the speeches given at these ceremonies will focus on the theme of changing the world. This will not be one of those speeches. Instead, I would like to refl ect on our past four years here at Malden High. To acknowledge the tireless efforts we have all endured to get to this day and talk about the invaluable lessons we have learned along the way. In Malden, our motto is “Strong Past, Proud Future.” This can mean something different to everyone, but in my view, this speaks to the character of our school, our community, and more specifi cally, our class as a whole. accountable. It was a metaphor for life. Insert any meaningful term and it continues to hold true. Your choices are your responsibility; Your success is your responsibility; Your happiness is your responsibility The point being, in life, the important decisions and their consequences are up to you. Don’t allow someone else to Colby Parker Valedictorian Malden High School Class of 2024 We sit here today as the fi rst graduating class to begin high school under the confi nes of a global pandemic. For more than a year, we sat behind computer screens, attending classes virtually while teachers scrambled to create and administer classes that resembled the in-class experience. Many of us were unable to even recognize our classmates in the absence of a mask well into our sophomore year. Yet, here we sit four years later, more than 450 strong, having accomplished many great things in the classroom, on the athletic fi elds, in theater and music and across countless other community organizations and extracurricular activities. If that doesn’t speak to perseverance, and a class that is determined to get the job done then I’m not sure what does. This did not happen by accident. Our time at Malden High did more than teach us the curriculum, it instilled in us a work ethic and a sense of character that will continue to pave the way for our success in the years to come. We were provided more than an education, we were given ownership over our futures. This concept was initially introduced to me the very first day of my freshman year when Mr.Marques cited a quote to our class that encapsulates everything that our high school years are about. He said, and I quote, “Your Education is Your Responsibility.” The first time I heard these words, I honestly didn’t think much of it. I thought this was his way of making students take accountability and to set clear expectations for his class. Yet, over the last four years I began to realize that it was much more than a throwaway quote with a goal of making a bunch of high school students more determine your own personal outcomes. We should be taking control of our own lives and all that comes with it. This isn’t always an easy evolution. Going from our lives being largely dictated to us by family and school to being responsible for our futures can be overwhelming. However, I’m confi dent that the last four years have prepared us well for this transition. During the past few months I’m sure there has been no shortage of advice given to you as to what you should do next after graduation. And while I’m sure you’ve all had your fi ll of advice for now, if you will allow me, I’d like to off er up one fi nal piece before we depart today as graduates. My advice is this. Don’t be afraid to get in the game and give it your best eff ort. You may not always succeed and that’s okay. Through failure you will improve. You will learn what is most important to you and you will fi ght for it. As Albert Einstein once said, “if you have never failed, you have never tried anything new.” History is littered with the failures of great people who went on to do amazing things. And they all had these things in common. They never let doubt or fear overcome them. They never allowed naysayers to stand in their way and most importantly, they never gave up. Thomas Edison, the inventor of the electric lightbulb, once said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." In life, we will all have our own version of the lightbulb. The question is, what will you do when you fi nd it? When we leave here today, we will head in the directions of our callings. For some of us, that may mean service in the military or learning a trade. 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