May 15, 2023
By: Noah Lamer, Class of 2023
Good afternoon, parents, family, friends, alumni, faculty, and of course, graduates! I would like to begin by giving thanks to those who helped us along the way. Mom, without you screaming at me for making an F one time in middle school and showing me true fear, I would not be here. But truly thank you. Thank you for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself and pushing me. First and foremost, I want to express my gratitude to the faculty who served not only as educators but also as mentors and guides. I am especially grateful for Mrs. Murphy, Coach Grogan, SSG Williams, and SSG Fuller. Your advice and lessons will stay with me for life, and I would not have achieved what I have without your support, thank you.
Graduates, we did it. We will now be much less likely to burden our parents by living in their basement for the next 10 years. We are now prepared with the knowledge we have learned to face the real world. With our understanding of calculus, physics, and 17th-century poetry, we will finally understand how to file our taxes. Let’s take a look back, shall we? While I could talk about the times we spent being silly, and then marching quad, instead I’d like to reflect on the brotherhood we’ve built.
Four years ago, I embarked on a transformative journey as I recognized that my current school would not help me achieve my goals. I agreed with my parents that if I didn’t like Southern Prep, I could always return to my old school, although in their heads they agreed with each other, thinking, he is never coming back. As I immersed myself in the opportunities that Southern Prep offered, I realized the vast potential it held for my future. After a successful first year, I began to set my sights higher, with aspirations such as becoming valedictorian, earning my pilot’s license, and building an exceptional resume that would allow me to attend nearly any college I wanted. Through hard work and dedication, I was able to turn these dreams into realities. I set my sights on becoming valedictorian and enrolled in college courses, while also working towards my pilot’s license. It was a challenging journey, but I remained steadfast in the pursuit of reaching my goals that, not long ago were just dreams.
I am proud to say that a few months ago, I was informed that I would be the valedictorian of my graduating class, a remarkable achievement, that I may or may not have literally prayed that no incredibly smart foreign exchange student would come in and take it away. I attribute this success to taking that first step into the unknown.
I am incredibly proud to be standing here today as your valedictorian. I’m proud of every single one of you. It feels like just yesterday we were scrubs. Uncertain, bewildered, and confused. Also with a bald head. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we all have grown tremendously since our first day. A lot has happened since then. From parades, grudging SMIs, and hundreds of formations. Where someone, somewhere, is always claiming to have their hat stolen from them by the dreaded hat-thieving boogeyman. Being a student here gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment, and we have learned important values. As I stand here, I am reminded of the many good memories I have made with friends over the past 4 years. From celebrating our successes and enjoying moments together, these memories will stay with us for a lifetime. There are countless stories I have that are unique to this school, just like the friendships I’ve made and I will always call Southern Prep my home. I am certain that one day we will meet again, laugh about these good times, and once more do ridiculous things, this time without having to march quad. Thank you for making the past 4 years unforgettable.
I want to offer some advice to the class of 2023. No matter how long you have been here, whether it’s been 5 months or 5 years, you have faced challenges and overcame them. Graduating from a military school, you have learned how to push through and use these skills in life. Remember to push through the hard times and never forget those who are there for you.
Before we leave I would like to share a quote from Psychologist Jordan Peterson “If you dare to do the most difficult thing you can conceptualize your life will work out better than if you do anything else.”. Go do the hard thing. That passion that you’ve always wanted to pursue, but you’re nervous about, go out and do it. Don’t be afraid of failure, be afraid of regret. Graduates, go change the world.
On a final note, I again want to thank our friends, family, and mentors for all that they have done. Without you, we could not have done it, and we are truly grateful for your support.
Rangers Lead The Way!