Salutations to the Class of 2018, and salutations to Superintendent Alston, Mayor Tweedle, Board Members and Members of City Council, Reverend Francois, Principal Bonek, Assistant Principals, Ms. Atkins-Turner and Mrs. Chapman, faculty, and parents and family-members. My name is Jason Bediako and it is my pleasure to stand before you today as the salutatorian of the Class of 2018 at Pleasantville High School.
Over the past four years we have grown together as a class and enjoyed every second. I can speak for all of my classmates when I say that we are totally different people now than when we first walked through the doors of Pleasantville High School as freshmen. Our backgrounds and experiences have shaped us into young adults. The journey to our dreams and ambitions is often filled with failure and hardship. Even though we could see where we wanted to end up, the path to get there was often filled with obstacles.This is when the true test of our inner grit begins to unfold — where we can choose to go all the way, or not at all. What kept all of us going and got us here today? Perseverance!
I define perseverance as the will to keep fighting and a determining factor of success. I didn’t have a great start in high school. I knew nothing of the importance of academic excellence. Through the support of friends and family, I found that fire inside of me that made me want to do more than just “get through” high school.
It was my perseverance that pushed me past my limitations. Confucius once said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” As a class, we’ve been through hardships and setbacks, academically and personally. It may seem like the right choice to give up during hard times, but don’t. Find that fire within yourself and take it slowly, JUST DO NOT QUIT.
I couldn’t finish this speech without thanking the people who taught me the true meaning of perseverance. First and foremost, the Almighty Lord who has guided me along this path and will continue to strengthen me. The staff of PHS influenced who I am today, but a few stand out in particular and I want to thank them individually. First and foremost, Ms. Fowler and Mr. Taylor, thank you for teaching me the importance of stage presence and to step out of my comfort zone. And I couldn’t forget Mr. Clark, who taught me for three years and truly became a mentor to me. Thank you for realizing my potential. Thank you to my best friends, Sandra and Destiny, who have been with me on this journey and gave me memories I’ll never forget. I also would like to thank my family, and most importantly, my mother. This woman has always been by my side. She has seen the best and worst of me and never stopped believing in me. I love you and thank you for never giving up on me.
I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know many of you these last four years and I hope to hear good things about all of you as we grow up and go out there in the real world. So remember, have patience, respect others, be great, never give up, and live an abundant life. Go do something spectacular Class of 2018, because now is go time!!!!
Let’s go Greyhounds!!!