Good evening. We are all gathered here this evening to celebrate the class of 2001, which is passing from one important part of there lives into another. We have all had the good fortune to have had parents, teachers, and good friends so far in our lives to point us in the right direction and always be there for us to fall back on when we needed them.
It was with this in mind that I began to research for this speech tonight, but as I was considering different ideas I came across a poem that I think contains everything I wanted to communicate to you all tonight. The poem is entitled “The Bridge Builder” and was written by Will Allen Droomgoole.
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An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim —
That sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when he reached the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength in building here.
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way.
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head,
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”
There have been many bridges thus far in our lives that we have crossed together. From getting off the school bus for the first time on the first day of school, to getting our very first A+, even when we got our very first crushes. There have always been people there throughout our lives to support us and teach us how to cross the bridges that they have built for us. Our teachers, parents, and friends have all helped to construct bridges that are strong enough for all of us to pass along, but they have more importantly been instrumental in helping us learn to build our own bridges in our futures.
With this graduation comes yet another new bridge that we must cross. For some it will be into college, for others the armed services, or maybe to a job. Wherever our own individual bridges must lead us, we should always remember that even when it seems that we are crossing alone, everyone who has helped us along our other bridges throughout our lives will always be there with us, continuing to help us cross.
Along the way, some of us have fallen and it is for those lost friends that I would ask all of you for a moment of silence at this time.
No matter where we go from here or what we do, none of us should ever forget that even those friends we have lost are still looking down on us and helping to show us the way. One last word of advice I would like to leave you with is that even when the times seem darkest and the chasm seems too deep, there will always be a bridge for all of you to cross. I wish you all the very best luck in all you do in your lives. God Bless and thank you all.
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