The Words of the Yamane Family

Valedictory Speech

Patrick Hidetaka Yamane
May 21, 2005
Alma Bryant High School

The journey through life is one that nobody goes through alone. Whatever people may accomplish, those accomplishments were achieved only through the combination of their own personal drive and motivation and the love and support given to them from the people around them. Therefore, I must begin by acknowledging all those that have been so instrumental in bringing me to where I am today. Most importantly I have to thank God and Rev. Moon, my spiritual guidance counselors, and my parents, grandmother, and other family that have been there supporting me all my life, I could not have done anything without you and you have taught me so much. I must thank all the Alma Bryant teachers and staff who have invested so much into all of us, know that all your time and effort was appreciated, and also all the teachers we had through elementary and middle school. Thank you to all my teachers outside of school, my academic coaches, music coaches, and sports coaches, who have also invested so much. And finally to all of my friends, you have really made these years so enjoyable and memorable.

High School will always have been a very unique period in our lives; we came in as children and according to the standards of society most of us are leaving as adults. Many of us may feel excited or even overwhelmed and fearful at the prospect of "finally being finished" and being able to "go out on our own" as adults. However, though society may now consider us adults, we of course still have so much to learn about what it means to be an adult. Most of us are probably not ready to "go out on our own." The good thing, though, is that we don't have to. While all our teachers and parents have been working all our lives to equip and prepare us for this stage in our lives, it's not like when we get to this point and go off to college or whatever you may plan to do now that they will all be gone; these people along with all the friends we've made over time will still be there, maybe not right where you can see them everyday, but nevertheless there to talk to and support you when you may need. Thus, there is no reason to feel as though you are alone or on your own at this point.

Up until this point in our lives, we have been receiving and receiving from the people around us. Yet, to truly become an adult, you have to realize that you must stop receiving all the time, and you must begin giving back to your community and to all those that have served you throughout your life. Though most of us will not become self-sustaining right out of high school and may still be dependent on our parents for things, we now must truly begin to show our appreciation to all those who have brought us to where we are.

As this chapter of our life comes to a close, we have learned something of the past, have seen how things in the world are now, and will have a say in how the world may be in the future. As young adults, we must now learn how to take responsibility for our actions and for the society and world we live in. With the knowledge we have gained about the world today, we must decide whether we are satisfied with the immoral, self-centered society we live in today. We are a generation with amazing potential for change, but only if we can be a generation of people with the heart, drive, and desire to want to force change to occur. Whether for God, yourself, your family, or for future generations, you owe it to somebody to find the motivation to work for a change in this world.

My journey to where I am now all began with a goal I made four years ago, to be the valedictorian. While it seemed unrealistic at the time, it gave me a direction and plan to work toward. I encourage all of you to set goals for yourself and to strongly stand for something that can give your life a direction and purpose. As a fellow member of the graduating class of 2005 I love all of you guys and wish you the best of luck in your lives.

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