From June 10th – 15th, Bryson High and Tristan Nelson attended Boys State in Austin, Texas. There they expanded their knowledge about the government process. Participants were shown the duties and responsibilities of a franchised citizen. They also ran for positions in city, county, and state governments that were elected by the students. As they tried to run for some of these positions, they learned that it was not as easy as it seemed to campaign. It matters on how you present yourself to those voting. “It was a lot of early mornings and late nights but I learned a lot to help me later in life,” High said.
A Trip to Washington D.
This past week Emily Heitschmidt and Blakely Gerber travelled to Washington D.C. in the NCREA Youth Tour. June 6th and 7th were spent in Austin and from the 8th through the 14th they were in Washington D.C. They were able to visit many places such as the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian, and the White House. Throughout the entire week they walked a total of 80 miles. “My favorite place we got to visit was the Newseum because they had an FBI exhibit there and we got to read about the investigations that went on after 9/11,” Gerber said.
Salutatorian Speech: Garrison Kleman
Before I begin, I would like to make a few thank you’s. That way I can dramatically walk off at the end of this speech. First I would like to thank the faculty and staff of Nazareth ISD. It has truly been a long 12 years, and I’m sure they’ve not been the easiest. Next I want to thank everyone in the community who has kept a careful eye on us growing up. Nazareth is a special place where that kind of action is an everyday occurrence and has truly helped develope us into who we are. Finally, I thank our families and especially our parents. Without you we are nothing. Now I congratulate all of my classmates on making it to this point. We thought this day would never come and now it’s here. Through year after year of growing together we have learned a lot, I know I certainly have. Looking back now, I can remember three very distinct lessons I have picked up over the years that I would like to share today.
First, “just keep swimming.” I remember the first time I ever watched “Finding Nemo.” The entire adventure of Marlin finding his son was an epic tale that is absolutely iconic. However, there is one part of the movie in particular that has never really carried any weight until I was older. Marlin and Dory just barely make it out alive from being chased down by Bruce the behemoth of a Great White, whenever Dory drops the only thing tying them to Nemo’s known location, a pair of swimming goggles. As they drop down into the darkest part of a ravine, Marlin hurries after them only to swim back up out of fear moments later. In a very nonchalant manner, Dory makes her way down into the abyss. She stops at Marlin and offers him the simple advice to just keep swimming. You see, Marlin’s fear of the unknown depths very quickly made him lose sight of something incredibly important to him, his son. It seemed trivial in this animated film, but we do the exact same thing every single day. We fear what we don’t know so much that we allow it to dictate our actions to the point where we simply alter the course of our entire lives to remain in what is comfortable. We become so fixated on the negative aspects of “What if?” that we fail to realize just how much better our lives might become if we press on. Fear can be a powerful tool that either sharpens our senses or stops us completely, but ultimately we have the final decision in how we allow that fear to work in our lives. I’m not saying we should all go careening into every major decision that comes into our lives without regard for the actual consequences, but what I am saying is that we shouldn’t allow worry to distort our perception of risk and reward. Instead we must look on with clear eyes to better understand the path that has been laid out before us.
My second source of inspiration comes from Bruce Lee. In an interview he gave, he told the interviewer that he believes one should be like water. He said water is formless, it can fill anything you place it in perfectly. It has the ability to be gentle and flowing, or it can crash. According to Lee, water is a force of a different kind. Now I’m not saying that you need to be like water. If you want to, go for it, but I’m pretty sure he was talking about karate or something. However, it is absolutely imperative that you decide to be like something. In our modern day world, the tides of change are constantly shifting and if you stand for nothing then there is no telling what you’ll fall for. For those of you wondering, well how do I decide what to be? It is the simplest thing in the world. Be you. Have you ever looked up some of the pictures that the Hubble Space Telescope has taken? While some of them look like vast expanses of black sprinkled with bright pinpoints of light, the most breathtaking images in our galaxy can be found by this single piece of equipment. Looking upon fields of pinks, purples, reds, greens, and oranges, we begin to understand the complex beauty of what makes up our universe. In the thick of these clouds I imagine it is impossible to fully see everything that is there, but from our unique perspective hundreds of light years away we can take in every inch of it for all that it is worth. In the same way, each and every person on this planet is constructed. Made up of billions and trillions of tiny cells we are wonders of creation. While we exist within our own bodies it can be difficult to fully grasp that idea but from the outside looking in it is entirely evident to those willing to see it. When you find those people willing to see who you are, hold them close because they will help carry you for the rest of your life, but until you do, be you because in every situation you find yourself in that is one principle that matters to nobody else. If you choose to sit and wait for someone else to recognize the greatness in you then you’ll end up unhappy and with nothing but wasted time to show for it. Take your situation by the reins and make the most of it by being the most authentic version of yourself. Never let those around you dictate what you should do or shame you into changing who you are, be you.
The final piece of inspiration comes from an unlikely place considering how I absolutely loathe poetry in its entirety. A poem written by Dylan Thomas piqued my interest the Friday night after our homecoming football game. I was sitting in bed watching my favorite movie, Interstellar, whenever one of the characters, Dr. Brand, starts to speak. He recites lines from this poem that read, “Do not go gentle into that goodnight / Old age should burn and rage at the close of day; / Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” If I had heard it at any other time my next thought probably would’ve never come to mind, but fresh off the field I couldn’t help but wonder. Our homecoming game against Ropes was a long drawn out struggle for victory. At one point, Coach Stanaland called us together and gave us an adrenaline inducing speech. In it he told us that by the end of the game we should be leaving in exhaustion otherwise we failed to do our jobs properly. Remembering this I applied that logic to this poem. If good ‘ole Mr. Thomas had done his job properly then truthfully he should not have had enough energy at the close of day to rage, rage against the dying of the light. The same can be thought of in our lives. It’s often been said that those on their death beds only regret the things they didn’t do. The time they didn’t spend pursuing their passion, the opportunities they failed to take out of fear, and most importantly their overlooking of time they could have spent with the ones they love. All of these and more tend to rush past us because our perceived invincibility in the moment and the routine belief that tomorrow will bring a fresh opportunity, another chance, and the continued ticking of the clock towards that close of day. We place too much trust in the hope that goodnight comes after a long life of trials and tribulations, but all too often we are shown the stark reality that goodnight is unpredictable. So I challenged myself. What if right now I recognize the dying of the light and instead of living in a paralyzed fear of that, I choose to confront it head on by living every second I am given on God’s green earth to the fullest. With this in mind I look to the future not with uncertainty but with a plan. While I cannot possibly know exactly what the future holds, I do know for a fact that I will take on whatever is given to me with a vigor never before seen, simply because of my decision to recognize the dying of the light not as something to be chased after when it is too late but rather as a challenge today to see just how fully I can live my life. That way I can rest easy knowing I left nothing up to chance.
I apologize if the words I have said today leave a sobering impact on you. I realize that graduation speeches are meant to be filled with fond memories of the past and a shining outlook on the future, but after heavy thinking, I realized I just could not do that. My final words today I direct towards my classmates, but I hope every person here takes something from them. I hope that every day from here on out you choose to just keep swimming and that you never let the fear of the unknown stop you, I pray that you choose to be something, be good, be kind, be courageous, and be you, and I trust that you will not go gentle into that goodnight but rage, rage against the dying of the light.