‘Humble start doesn’t limit futures’

Published 1:58 am Friday, May 24, 2019

In her valedictory address, Florala High School’s Taylor Mount said that while she and her classmates might have gotten an humble start, all of the them have the potential to go far and follow their dreams.

“My aunt, Heather Leonard, spoke at the honors’ banquet this year about coming from the small town of Florala,” Mount said. “And succeeding despite all the trials and tribulations she faced along the way. I can only hope to come back in 20 years and do the same for my alma mater and community.”

Mount began her speech by quoting Alabama native and Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, “But my dear graduates, let me be plain, the best years are very much ahead of you. And they can be whatever you want them to be…As much as you’ve changed during your time here, more change is coming. You’re going to continue to evolve in unforeseen ways. You are full of complexities and wonders that haven’t even begun to surface. Life’s unpredictability will draw these out and what defines you now will be mere shades and hues of a more vibrant you over the next 5, 10, and even 50 years. Honestly, I can’t think of anything more liberating than that, knowing that life will look differently than you think it will.”

She went on to say that their class would not be forgotten for years to come.

“The majority of us were a part of playoff teams this year,” Mount said. “Those memories, along with many others are some we will always cherish. I know, I am not alone in this; so, we would like to thank God. Without Him, none of us would have been able to accomplish this major stepping stone in our lives.”

Later on down the road, when her classmates are down, Mount encouraged them to look back at their memories made in high school.

“I will miss you all,” Mount said. “I know we will not forget the laughs, arguments and tears we have shared and later on down the road hen you feel like you can no longer continue because the real world has hit you, look back at the memories. Think about how much you have accomplished. Remember seniors, always keep your head up and push on.”

FHS salutatorian Morgan Kilpatrick said that even though she has been looking forward to this day, she has always disliked endings.

“I have always disliked endings,” Kilpatrick said. “The last day of summer, the final chapter of a great book, parting ways with a close friend, but endings are unavoidable. Leaves fall, you close the book, you say goodbye. Today is one of those days for us. Today we say goodbye to everything that is familiar, and everything that is comfortable. We’re moving on, but just because we are leaving, and that hurts, there are some people who are so much a part of us, they’ll be with us no matter what. They are our solid ground, our north star, and the small clear voices in our heart that will be with us always.”

She challenged the class of 2019 to be all that they aspire to be.

“I challenge all of you to be that engineer, diesel mechanic, nurse or whatever it is that you aspire to be,” Kilpatrick said. “Always remember that someone here believes in you.”

Kilpatrick ended her speech with a quote from Steve Jobs, “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”