Northview High School Valedictorian

JAY HARE/DOTHAN EAGLE Northview High School Valedictorian Megan Riley Maddox speaks to graduates and parents during commencement exercises at the Dothan Civic Center on Tuesday night.

Good evening fellow graduates, administrators, and distinguished guests. Let me start by saying thank you.

It takes a village to get us to this point. Seeing so many familiar, and even new faces in the crowd, goes to show that we truly did have a village behind us. Parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, you have all played a part in getting us to this very moment. We could not do this without such a big support system to constantly cheer us on and encourage us to do our best. And to the village who sometimes gets lost in the frustrations of a heavy school load, let me take a moment to thank the Northview High School faculty and staff.

To our administrators, thank you for being there any time we had a problem or needed quick answers, and sometimes, a quick pass back to class. To the teachers, thank you for being patient with us and showing us that you care for us as individuals and not just on a studious level. To the custodians and cafeteria staff, it isn’t an easy task cleaning up after a school full of rambunctious high-schoolers, but somehow you manage to make it look effortless. Thank you to all of the front office ladies who have to put up with our attendance and for brightening our day with a constant smile, and to the guidance counselors to lead us through the hectic process of preparing for our college years.

To any coaches or club leaders, thank you for going the extra mile and taking the time to invest into our lives. Finally to the people who work behind the scenes and don’t always get recognized, Dr. Edwards and the school board, thank you for the countless meetings held to ensure that the decisions made are the most beneficial ones to us.

Now I know a good bit of graduation speeches focus on the next chapter of our lives and our future plans, but for a moment, I want to take a step back into the past, into our legacy. So what is a legacy? It’s defined as “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor”. You don’t have to be super old or experienced to leave a legacy though. Your legacy develops as you grow, and looking out at all of you today, I see the class I have spent the last 4 years growing with, making memories with, and leaving a mark with.

As the last class of Northview, it’s important to leave an impact on this school, making the best last impression possible. This might seem trivial to some of you, but it’s surprising how much you can impact others without ever realizing it. As Maya Angelou once said, “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

Everyone has their own legacy, big or small, but together we are leaving a tremendous one. Four short years ago we were a group of wide eyed freshmen terrified of the upperclassman. A week ago we were those upperclassman who the younger students were looking up to. Today, we represent the future, for ourselves and for them. By sitting here today in these caps and gown we have left a positive stamp on Northview High School. We are proving that it IS possible (even though all-nighter study sessions, early mornings, and in between class naps convince us otherwise).

For ourselves we are taking a step into the next stage of our lives. Although we are all headed in different directions, I know these years will never be forgotten. We will always be remembered as the class who appreciates tradition. We took over leading the student section with loud megaphones and outrageous outfits; we kept the tailgates going before football games; and we made sure the tree rolling tradition stayed alive even though it was taken away and the tree was uprooted. We are the class that won the spirit stick over the seniors our junior year, even if the class of 2020 feels otherwise.

We made sure that Freshman Friday was well organized and drew in a big crowd as we made the freshmen gallop into the school while music blared on a speaker. We have an energetic class of students who have been leaders since freshman year and, through hard work, have managed to keep our grades high and our school spirit higher.

I am proud to say that many of our graduates are heading to college and an ample amount of us have received scholarships.

Others will be entering the military or the workforce. Whichever option you may choose, do so with the understanding that your next path of life will begin your new legacy. Yes, a chapter of our lives that we have known for about 18 years is ending, but a new chapter is beginning, one filled with new opportunities and life lessons. Take advantage of this new chapter and ensure your legacy is one to be remembered.

The reason I chose to focus on our past tonight is because, in order to appreciate our future, we must look back on what we have all been through to make it here. This path we are about to embark on is going to pave the way for our entire lives, but my hope is that we always cherish the memories that lead us here. So as we’re all sitting here today, take the time to think back and discover the legacy that we left as the last graduating class of Northview High School. To the Class of 2019, I love you and am forever grateful for the person you have helped me evolve into.

This isn’t goodbye; it’s see you again. So for the last time -- Northview first, Cougars forever.

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