Grand Island Public Schools
123 South Webb Road
Grand Island, NE 68802
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Katelyn Hill's Class of 2018 graduation address

Katelyn Hill's Class of 2018 graduation address:

President of the Board of Education, Bonnie Hinkle; Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Tawana Grover; Principal, Jeff Gilbertson; faculty; parents; family; friends; and the Grand Island Senior High Class of 2018…

Today is the day of days. Today is the day that we have been looking forward to for the past 13 years. Throughout our high school years, when presented with a question referring to our future, we all answered with the fact that we would be graduating high school. I am delighted to say that after this long haul, we have finally made it. If you are anything like me, you have had a countdown for this day from the very first day of high school. But now that we have made it to the final seconds of this timer, the experience begins to feel surreal.

Today is the first day of the rest of our life. No longer will we be referred to as the high school students who are dreaming about tomorrow, but rather the young adults who are striving towards our future. Now that this day has finally come, I am left to wonder like all of you sitting before me, how my life will be different from that of our days as an Islander? While nothing is ever set in stone, I do know one key concept that will push us towards success…

Grand Island Senior High has taught us the lessons behind trigonometry, how to properly analyze a novel, and even how to use a microscope to view various cells, but more importantly, GISH has taught us how to look towards the future while also living in the present.

With the rise of the digital age throughout our youth, we have been able to use devices to track our life as well as look towards our future. Our lives have revolved around these timers, even to the point where many of us have spent more time planning what is to come, rather than looking up to see what was happening around us. Sixty-seven days to Spring Break, forty-three days to Prom, twenty-two days to the last music concert, eighteen days to the last track meet, five days to the last day of school, and three days to Graduation. We all have had various timers like these, counting down the seconds of our youth, counting down the seconds to our future. And now we have made it to the finale of this timer, our Graduation.

While it is important to look towards the future, as Grand Island Senior High has shown us through ACT and AP test prep, college applications, and the seemingly never ending stack of scholarship forms, GISH has also highlighted the importance of enjoying our youth while it lasts.

It may just seem that I am up at this podium rambling on about how it is important to live in the present, but in order to put this into more of a perspective, I urge you to reminisce about the second day of school of our senior year. The day of the eclipse.

As classes walked out together to the football field, everyone was ecstatic to see this phenomenon. The eclipse had already started earlier in the day, and it was not until the eclipse was closer to totality that we finally migrated outside. Right before the eclipse hit totality, visible on the ground were snake-like shadows. All around you, the August humidity quickly changed to the cool breeze of October. Everything around the school, including the birds, became silent.

While these experiences were nowhere near as exciting as the real event, they were relevant to the full experience of the festivities. Many students were too focused on putting on their glasses to view the spectacle, and in turn missed these little moments that would leave a lasting impact. Once totality rolled around, everyone was in awe of how with a snap of a finger, the school day magically changed into night with a glowing moon much different than what we are used to. Before you knew it, the eleven minutes of scientific spectacular had vanished, and all we were left with were the memories.

I know… You must be wondering how an eclipse that you experienced almost nine months ago could even compare to graduation and the rest of our lives, but I am here to tell you that everything from that day can be mirrored in our day to day lives moving forward.

By focusing on those timers of our lives, and continually looking toward only the future, we will miss the little details that make the experience of life so spectacular. It is only truly when we focus on the present that we are able to experience the snake shadows of life. Once the timer goes off and the totality of our accomplishments come to life, it is even more important to focus on the small moments that make the end result so stunning.

These moments will not last forever, and before too long, those timers just become mere memories. Classmates, what I am trying to get at is that the experiences from our time here at GISH have all been the little snake shadows in the eclipse that is known as life.

I am not telling you all that setting goals and striving for someday is bad; I merely just want you all to realize that someday will never come until after all of today is played out. Our final seconds are winding down, and I want to leave you with this…

As Emily Dickinson once said, “Forever is composed of nows”. Trust the process. What you do today will dictate your future. It is essential that you use today to the fullest potential, rather than wasting away worrying about what will happen.


Grand Island Senior High school has prepared you for tomorrow by just merely keeping you focused on your work ethic today. This diploma that you are about to receive is a collection of your yesterday's that is meant to help you with your tomorrows, but please never forget that today is where the two meet.

Class of 2018, congratulations on all of your accomplishments and good luck on all of your future endeavours, but most importantly enjoy this moment before it’s gone.

Thank you.


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