by Olivia Allen
(Anderson Valley High School 2012 Salutatorian.)
This evening is the night that we have been anticipating for twelve long years. And, as I’m sure the teachers of the Anderson Valley School district can attest to, we really have been looking forward to this day for all twelve years of our schooling. I’m sure that every graduating class has teachers say things to them similar to “You were the worst class,” or “You were the most unique class.” But I like to think that when this class is told things like that, and let me tell you, quite a variety of “You were the etc.” statements have been thrown at us with varying degrees of exasperation or delight, that the teachers and administrators were serious. We are an eclectic assortment of students with unique talents, aspirations, and qualities that I feel make us stand out from the blur of students who have walked these halls. Or should I say, this hall, considering there is only one. Like a vibrantly dressed youth walking against traffic in the most hurried white-collar section of New York, we were noticed.
The Class of 2012 brought a vivacity and originality to Anderson Valley, not just in the high school, but in the community itself. We have been active in the fair, working on gardens in the valley and school, Big Brother Big Sister, members of our class were chosen for Every Fifteen Minutes, and we have helped with countless other community and school events. Our class includes musicians, vocalists, artists, athletes, mischief-makers, trendsetters, clowns, intellectuals, and people capable of making an impact in a world which is increasingly needing help.
We will be the Youth at the Helm, as we venture into the world that we are to inherit. It would be incredibly difficult to deny that the world has entered a time of great turmoil and change. In this class, we have students with the capacity to aid the world and allow it to succeed in having the future we all desire it to have. A future without war or corruption, without pollution or an emphasis on consumerism. We can no longer allow those who are older than us to hold the reins. The youth must come forth with our ideas, and take the reins from the hands of those whose nearsightedness has jeopardized the world that is our future.
It is much wiser to stop problems before they begin than to try to solve them once they have been set in motion. Many of the students of the Class of 2012 recognize this, and I am confident that among us are those prepared to make the changes the world needs. Whether the changes are through activism, music, teaching, or installing wind turbines in the ocean by being an underwater welder; we will have an impact.
Class of 2012; it has been an absolute honor. I have cried with you, argued with you, hated you, and loved you. I have scoffed at our sarcasm, frowned at our misdeeds, laughed at our jokes, and smiled at our compassion. I have shared at least one special moment with each of you, and that is another thing that lets me know how special we really are. In our class there are tiffs, yes, but overall there is an incomparable sense of unity. I am proud to have been a member of such a spirited bunch of individuals. And although we are individuals, we are one as well.