2020 Foresight: Excerpts from NSHS students' graduation speeches

'The North Scott community exudes a kindness, unlike any other place I know.'


Zach Campbell

Even though these are unusual times with the coronavirus, confirmed UFOs, Murder Hornets, or whatever is coming next, today is a day to honor the achievements of the class of 2020, and wow, did we have a lot of them.

… The one thing that sets North Scott apart from other schools is our sense of community. The same people cheering on the Lancers on Friday night are at The Pit cheering on basketball, volleyball, and wrestling. It’s the same people at the soccer, softball, and baseball fields. It’s the same people attending the plays and performances.

… The support and encouragement we have received from peers and the community made these last four years so memorable.

… Whatever you decide to do in the future, try to give the same support and encouragement that you experienced here. Carry what you learned here to the future. I guess that’s the point of this whole high school thing anyway.

Grace Sampson

On September 11th, 2001, the United States became a changed nation: plagued with fear. America was no longer invincible. We, the Class of 2020, were born into change. Our lives were a reminder of hope shining through adversity. We’ve since faced Hurricane Katrina, a BP oil spill, and now a global pandemic.

In these times of great trial, it can seem so easy to turn a cold shoulder; abandon positivity and avoid silver linings. However, our class has refused to let these challenges define us. Each and every one of you is resilient, bred to confront challenges with a sense of hope, and compassion.

Do not allow the condition of our world to darken your light. When we are able to look at situations as problem solvers we become apart of the solutions, when we expect someone else to be the problem solver we end up waiting on forever. Don’t wait for someone else to solve the problem.

The North Scott community exudes a kindness, unlike any other place I know. I hope that you will carry this kindness with you through all of your future endeavors.

Cameron LaPage

Three years ago, all I could think about at graduation was what I would have to show for myself when it was my time. It took me a while to realize just how self-destructive that mindset is. Because at the end of the day not everyone reaches that peak when they’re here, and if you don’t that can be devastating. But it really shouldn’t be … The things we do and learn within these walls aren’t meant to be left behind, and our achievements and failures are not supposed to define who we are.

… We are graduating under extraordinary circumstances, and you know that. It’s impossible not to know that. But we’re not the first generation to go through this, and we probably won’t be the last. For as long as humanity’s existed, there have been terrible times where there’s seemingly no hope in sight. But in every one of those times there’s a generation of people that has to come of age during that and put the world back together.

Joie Stoefen

Reflecting on the Class of 2020, I am reminded of our unwavering passion. Our fierce competitiveness was present every game night; we manifested our own zeal for adventure inside and outside of the classroom. No matter where we were or what we were doing, we carried our Lancer pride along with us. We were there to cheer on our classmates throughout the years … and these are the moments we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.

… I want you to think about this: What do you imagine you’ll be like five years from now? 10 years? 20 years?

I hope each and every one of you brings the same enthusiasm into your adult lives. There’s no satisfaction to be found in a very simple, predictable life. That’s where we find burnout, and midlife crises. Trust me — none of us want that to happen. It’s important to put yourself out there.

Jenna Willet

As seniors, we constantly had to evaluate our skills, our strengths, and our weaknesses to determine a future for ourselves. That’s really scary.

Outside of how much money you’d make, the goal was to find what each of us would be good at and would enjoy doing.

I’d like to imagine a world where all students follow their dreams.

When I think of the people I’ve known since I can remember, the last thing I want them to do is settle. Especially with the Class of 2020, I feel that we have an unprecedented amount of athleticism, artistry, intellect, and talent. And most importantly, we have integrity.

We have the strength to stay true to ourselves, and to fulfill our dreams.

Whenever the time to become active members of society again is, the next step is to keep dreaming and to make these dreams your life—your reality.

Letting your future be determined by skepticism or wealth is dangerous. And it cuts dreams short.