Valedictorian’s speech


Hello, Wakulla High School’s Class of 2024!

Well, we made it. We are at the moment we have all been waiting for. We, in a few short minutes, will be handed our high school diplomas and be finished with the treacherous journey we have all come to know and love as K-12 education.
We could not have gotten through this alone, however. I personally have a lot of people to thank, some of which include my wonderful Mom, Dad, Sister Anna, and Brother Adrian.
I could go on and on about how these few loved ones have made me into the person and student I am today: My brother a role model, my sister a person to laugh with, my father a shoulder to lean on, my mother a motivator and provider.
I cannot emphasize enough how thankful I am for my family. I cannot forget another family that is very important to me, the Shaw family. My beautiful girlfriend Jesse Shaw has provided me with the pleasure of introducing me to her family, and they have treated me as if I were one of their own, if for better or for worse. If you want to survive a dinner with the Shaw family, you must prepare for the endless digs and sarcasm.
I would also like to personally thank Mr. Taylor and Mr. Thaxton, the coaches of the Wakulla High School Academic Team, colloquially known as Brain Brawl. They have taught me lessons far beyond academics that I will carry for all of my life. This thankfulness further extends to all of my family and friends who have helped me along the way.
Again, I cannot stress enough, THANK YOU!
Alright, So, we made it! We have been waiting on this moment our whole lives. However, now that I am here, I cannot help but look forward to the next thing. In fact, most of my life I have reached milestones only to quickly move on to the next one. For example, when I was young, I couldn’t wait until I was big enough to ride all of the rides at the fair. I would try and stretch as tall as I could to try and prove to the attendant at the ride that I was, in fact, 44 inches tall; I was not.
Well, eventually I was 44 inches tall, then next thing you know I am 16 years old, worrying about getting a car and driver’s license. By the time I even take my first spin around Beechwood Drive I am thinking, “Now how in the world am I going to pay for gas.” This is how I ending up getting my wonderful job at Myra Jean’s restaurant, starting off as a lowly dishwasher. Again, I could not wait to move up the totem pole to become a waiter.
My point in sharing my life story is: I feel like most of my life I have been waiting and working for the next big thing, never satisfied with my last accomplishment or milestone. I viewed these stages of life as roadblocks, stopping me from achieving my next goal. But when I look back, I realize that these “roadblocks” are there for a reason: to slow you down.
The whole time I was looking forward to the future, when in reality I should have been slowing down and living in the moment. This saying is so overused, and I hate that I will utter it before you, but high school, and childhood in general, passes in the blink of an eye.
One Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So, I think we should all take a breath. No really, just take a second to live in the moment right now. It is graduation night, you are surrounded by the people you grew up with and love. Savor it. Living life on the interstate and speeding through all roadblocks will surely get you to your destination faster, but taking that scenic route will give you memories you will make the journey worth your while.
As my speech comes to a close, I would like to remind everyone that this is not the end of our journey, rather a fork in the road. The world is our oyster, and it is up to us whether we find the pearl within.
After tonight we enter a new phase of life, we can reinvent ourselves and achieve things beyond the bounds of a white brick classroom. All good things come in due time, so take your time and enjoy the ride.
Do not view challenges as hindrances, rather view them as new opportunities. So, climb that mountain, swim that river, and conquer the day, for we are not promised tomorrow.

Valedictorian Hayden Peacock gives his address.
Some senior class officers.
Selfies with friends after graduation ceremonies.