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Case Valedictorians Share Views of Coming Together

Brothers Jeremy and Adam Shufelt were co-valedictorians at Case High School, and offered this view of shared experiences among classmates.

Case High School valedictorians Jeremy Shufelt and Adam Shufelt gave this speech at their graduation on Sunday, June 10.

Friends, family, Case staff, and fellow graduates of Case High School, 2012, it is an honor to be speaking to you today.

We certainly would not be here without the support of so many.  Thanks first to my parents and to all of our parents; their support has been invaluable.  Thanks also to our teachers, counselors, coaches and school staff; their time and effort made our high school experience a positive one.

We have all taken many different paths to arrive at this point.  We have all come from different backgrounds, different cultures, even different continents.  And all of our paths first coincided four years ago.  Four years ago, we woke up, excited and nervous for our first day of high school.  We walked through the doors of Case High School.  We went to our homerooms and found our lockers.  We attended our first high school class.  Then, if you were like me, you desperately tried to find your next class and not get lost in the hallways, which somehow all looked exactly the same.

After that first day of school, our paths split once again.  We played different sports, attended different classes, joined different clubs, and met different people, who have now become our friends.  In our classes we had the challenge of deciphering Mr. Lesnjaks drawings, improving our coloring skills in Spanish, and learning history with Saturday Night Live.  We saw the girls basketball team go to state and our football team persevere through many rough years to finally win this year.  During our years at Case High School, our paths intertwined, weaving in and out during the different sports seasons, and the different class schedules each semester.  

We have made friends with those around us, and through them we have met even more people.  Collectively, this class has become a single, unified group. What began as a jumbled group of unimposing freshmen has become a strong, dignified group of young adults, ready to take the world head on.  Today, in this room, the path of every one of us converges once again, just as they did the first day of high school.  Here at graduation, this is the last time we will all be together as one group as we move forward from here into the future.

After this day, we will all go our separate directions in life.  We will get jobs, perhaps go to college, maybe travel the world, start families; the possibilities are truly endless.  And along the way, we will do our best to prepare ourselves, and lead ourselves down the direction we want to take.  But this is not a menial task.  Earlier this semester, I was reading the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, and a statement really stuck out to me, and I feel that it applies to every single person in this room.  It says, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”  At first, I found this statement rather discouraging.  But after a few moments of thought, I realized the truth in what it said.  We can prepare ourselves all we want for the future we see ahead of us, but we cannot know for sure if the future we see is the one that actually waits for us.  

Instead, we must focus on the first part of the statement, “We know what we are,” The past is behind us, and it will always remain an untouchable memory.  The future is uncertain, a part of life full of discovery and surprises, both about ourselves and about the world around us.  These two parts of life are beyond our control, and so we must all focus on one thing.  The present. Here. Today.

Today, we sit with our classmates waiting to move on to the next period of our lives.
Today, our friends and family watch with admiration and pride, as we take this step.
Today, we give thanks to all those who have prodded us, encouraged us and supported us.
Today, we celebrate all of our accomplishments that we have so far achieved.
Today, we look forward to the future and see no bounds to where it may take us.
Class of 2012, today, we graduate.

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