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Class of 2018 Valedictorian Announcment and Address
Posted On:
Monday, May 21, 2018
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Andrew DeRose

     Manteno High School announces Andrew DeRose as the class of 2017 valedictorian. Andrew is the son of Lynette and Joseph DeRose. He has been involved with Junior Achievement for the past two years, including serving as Finance Team Lead for, “ParaPals” this past spring competing in the state competition. Drew is a four year member of the baseball program, earning I-8 academic scholar athlete status.  He has been a member of student council for four years and served this year as the treasurer, attending the I-8 Leadership Conference in 2016. He is active at the Cornerstone Church including being an audio visual volunteer. This 2018 Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member will attend the University of Kansas in the fall on an academic scholarship to study business logistics.

Student Address

     I need to start by stating the obvious—thank you. Thank you to all of you guys for pushing, both myself, and one another, to do our best every day. Thank you to our amazing teachers. You have been there with us every step of the way. Finally, I would like to personally thank my parents, you both do so much for me and I wouldn’t be anywhere if it weren’t for you constantly nagging me about doing things (I say this all in good spirits Mom and Dad).

Now, I could stand up here and talk about all the great times that have led us to this moment. I could talk about anything from that first day of school, to quesadilla day, to Friday night football games, to this past Senior Prom, or a bunch of other things—but you guys were all there. So with that said, I’m not here to talk about the past, I’m here to talk about what’s to come. For those of you who do not know, we, the graduating class of 2018, are all a part of Generation Z, also sometimes fittingly referred to as iGen (you know, as in iPhones… I’ll come back to this). Now on the flip side, those born roughly between 1910-1924 (which btw, if we have anyone in the crowd who meets that criteria, we are ecstatic to have you with us today) have been labeled as the Greatest Generation (these were the people who grew up during the deprivation of the Great Depression, and would go on to fight for our freedom in World War II). So, in 100 years from now, what will people look back and say about our generation? Will they remember us for being lazy, entitled young adults who spend their days playing Fortnite? Or will they remember us for the brilliant breakthroughs in science and medicine we are going to make, for sending the first people to Mars, for mastering artificial intelligence, for engineering renewable energy into every American home, and for raising the next generation of leaders who will be recognized around the world for their tenacity and integrity? That choice is ours, and that choice can be made today. Yes, high school had its great moments, but it’s time to take what we have learned and run with it. There’re bigger fish to fry. College/trade school/the military/finding a job, whatever it is for you after high school, these things represent a new start for each and every one of us. As of this moment, you are no longer defined by what you were like in high school, by what you did or did not accomplish. Walking across this stage not only represents an accomplishment of our past, but also a promise for our future.

I don’t mean to brag but, for Senior most likely, I received the title of: “most likely to succeed.” While I’m flattered, that got me thinking, what does it really mean to succeed? Is it making a 6 figure income? Is it owning a mansion and driving around town in a lambo? The answer—yes, and no. “Success” can mean a variety of things to a variety of people. Your definition of success is much different than everyone else’s. Your definition of success should be much different than everyone else’s. Success could look like graduating college, finding a job that you love, meeting that special someone, finally saving enough for that expensive trip to the Cayman Islands you’ve always wanted, or even paying for your own phone bill (which I’m not even sure Miss Frame does yet). Whatever it is, I hope that each one of you find that success. Who knows, maybe one day, 100 years from now, people will look back and call us the Generation of Success. Class of 2018, we made it. Congratulations!

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