Parents, teachers, members of the board of education, classmates and citizens of New Baltimore...
We are here today to witness a most important turning point in the lives of each member of our graduating class. We stand upon the dividing ground between two eras in our development as mature human beings …and we do this with mixed sentiments…. for we realize that this is the last time we will ever be assembled in our entirety as a class… that our irrevocable past associations and varied experiences shall now live in our memories only….that from here our diverging paths may never cross again.
On the other hand, we hold the future in mind, with hope and anticipation. The past twelve years have been spent in preparing us to enter adult life as members of the communities where we shall work, build our homes, continue our education and live our lives…And so we pause tonight through this solemn occasion to reflect upon what has been and what shall be.
We are also here tonight to acknowledge in part, the gratitude that each of us feels towards you who helped to bring us this far on our way. We are fortunate to have parents, teachers and friends who are interested in our well being and our progress in the future. Our teachers have taught to study and lessons for life. The very characteristics we possess today have been greatly determined by their influence upon us. On this night we realize more than ever before, that our parents have given their time and their lives to provide for us the opportunities which have made our graduation possible. No words can adequately express our gratitude to these people for their sacrifice, to these people who are probably the proudest ones here to see us graduate.
The ability to believe in our schools, our parents, our teachers, our friends, our community and ourselves, has successfully brought us through high school. The passing of time will record the role of each of us in the life span which is given to us after this. Whatever that role we go from high school with faith in the future. It is our aim and desire to find a way of life that will permit us to live peacefully and happily in a world that is politically socially and economically beneficial to us and to mankind.
Having shared one another’s joys and sorrows, successes and failures for so long, it is hard to say goodbye. Our mutual companionship has been an inspiration and an incentive, which we shall very much miss. Let us then, in its place, keep memories of our years together, of the ideals towards the realization of which we aspired, and the influence of our high school days, which has left a lasting impression, upon our minds and our hearts.
Valedictorian Address as given by Rich Pettit, June 8, 1971.