Monday, June 15, 2015


One of the reasons I love this time of year is commencement speeches. They are opportunities to get a reboot in life. They help us hear and understand points we often forget in the gettin’-it-done world of everyday life. In the last few days, I've had the chance to see clips from a variety of speeches, saw one whole address on DVD, and attended a high school graduation.

One of my young cousins, Conner Makitka, is the valedictorian of North Duplin High School’s Class of 2015. As such, she gave the valedictorian address at their ceremony last Saturday.

Conner had a DVD of her speech and we watched it at a family celebration on Sunday. She was wonderful! 

She said, “Up until this point in our lives there has been a plan.”…and she inferred that the plan was created by someone else, parents. Then she said, “But, now there’s no plan” and she talked about the fact that from this day forward most of the plans for life are made by the graduates. Point being: If you don’t already have a plan, you better start making one. I loved that!

But, the idea I liked the most was when she said, “Life isn’t an elevator, you have to take the stairs.” Is that great, or what?!!

To show how smart she is, as she was explaining her speech to me afterward, she talked about her use of metaphors and analogies. I’ll bet $1,000 that only about 5 people in her graduating class know what metaphors and analogies are.

I loved her use of stairs as an metaphor. You have to work at climbing, but if you understand there’ll be landings, plateaus, where you can rest and collect yourself, you can keep moving.

Conner tore a knee up in the last couple of years and the physical therapists and sports medicine specialists who helped her rehab and recover had a big influence on her. She’s headed into sports medicine. She’s a smart young woman with a lot of drive, it’ll be fun to watch her journey up the stairs.

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