My Valedictory Speech — Citizen of the World

Ladies and gentlemen, fellow graduates, we are here to celebrate a big step in our lives. Let’s look back with warm memories and look forward with anticipation.

During the 4, or 5, years at Hixson High School, the class of 1998 has learned what it takes to be a citizen of Hixson High.

We learned not to catapult corn across the cafeteria, or not to smoke in the bathrooms during our 5-minute breaks. Most of us have learned to not believe everything we hear in the halls, or read in notes. These lessons learned have made us citizens of Hixson High School.

Now that we are leaving Hixson High though, we must focus not only becoming good US Citizens, but citizens of the world as well.

Socrates once said, “I’m not an Athenian or a Greek, but a Citizen of the World.”

To become good citizens of the world, we must be creative, set new goals, be open-minded and travel outside what we know. In the words of SI Hayakawa, “Creativity is the act of bringing something new into the world.” A person who is afraid of being laughed at for stupid or ridiculous ideas will always have the satisfaction of having everyone agree with him. But he will not be creative, because creativity means to take a chance, to go out on a limb.

Open-mindedness is probably one of the best traits we can have. I once saw a bumper sticker that read, “A mind is like a parachute, it only functions when open.”

We must understand that to communicate our ideas, we must be willing to open our minds. For our ideas to be heard, we can’t expect everyone to understand them in the English Language. Or have everyone come to Hixson, TN to talk about them. We must expand our knowledge to accommodate the world community. We must travel outside what we know.

I traveled to both Japan and Russia during my high school education and by doing so have learned the requirements of becoming a world citizen. I have learned not to slow myself down in fear of what others think of me, and I have learned to be open minded and sensitive to other cultures. I am able to communicate my ideas in not only the English language but the Japanese language as well.

I have set a new goal for myself as well to expand my knowledge and see the world. While studying the Japanese culture I found the Buddhist way of thinking to be appropriate for today’s graduation. What we do now, right this second, is a result of a past preparation in our lives. That same instant, is a preparation for a future result.

Today we are here for our graduation. This ceremony is a result of previous years of hard work and determination. This ceremony is also a preparation for our future lives as citizens of the world.

Thank you, and Sayonara class of 1998.

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