graduated 309 seniors on June 3. Here is class valedictorian Michael Butrey's speech:
"Good evening faculty, staff, graduates, and honored guests. Yes it’s that time in the program, the moment you have all been waiting for, the time where you all get to listen to a guy named Booch. Don’t worry; I will do my best to keep things interesting.
I would just like to start out by thanking my father, mother, sister, family and mentors as I truly would not be where I am today without all of their guidance and support. I would also like to recognize those who truly deserve it. For starters, there is one of our student leaders who has put more time and effort than anyone into organizing and leading school events, and has truly done an outstanding job. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of our class president for the past four years, Jenna Miller. I would also like to recognize those whose hard work has earned them a seat in the top ten of our class and are now up on the stage with me. You represent Avon Lake High School with true excellence both in and out of the classroom. Just looking at this group, we have athletes from conference championship teams, members of the robotics team, appointees of West Point; and the list goes on, as they are some of the finest graduates ever representing
It’s amazing to me how fast the past 12 years of our lives have gone by. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had a great group of friends all the way through high school whom I’ve shared great times with. I have also been fortunate to play Shoremen football with a great group of teammates, and, although someone humorously stated that we will probably be working at gas stations, it’s been a great ride!
As fast as our twelve years have gone by, what is more amazing is how fast the next twelve will feel. Most people see graduation as a time to celebrate the end of something, like high school, but I see it as a celebration of a new beginning. A new beginning for every single graduate here today. Just think about all that you have already done and how much you have all matured… well most of you anyway. You’ve all come a long way from that fifth grader playing outside at recess to the person you are now.
I can say that these past twelve years have been the best twelve years of my life, but if that is still true by the time I’ve finished my next twelve, then there is a problem. Although our high school memories will always be a part of us, it doesn’t end here, it’s just getting started. Next year all of you will enter into a new chapter of your life. Yes it’s finally time for all of you Facebook and Twitter enthusiasts to escape those incredibly boring confines of Avon Lake and finally enter into the real world.
On a more serious note,
Every person gets that one moment to do something great in their life; the thing is that many people don’t realize when that opportunity is sitting right in front of them, starring them in the eye. That chance, that moment, that time is right now, but what you do with this chance is entirely up to you. I’m not saying that everyone has to become the next Bill Gates, but do something meaningful, something out of the ordinary. There are many ways to define success in today’s world, the possibilities are endless. Seek out your opportunity.
There may be only a few things that you remember from this speech, but if there is one important part, it is this: YOLO: You Only Live Once. Now this is not an invitation for you to go off and do something incredibly stupid that you will probably regret later in life, but a challenge. A challenge to make your life purposeful. This opportunity that you hold right now doesn’t come around every day, and my challenge to all of you is to make the most out of it. Simply phrased in Latin “Carpe Diem”, Seize the day.
Ladies and gentlemen, make your lives extraordinary. Try something new, expand your horizons. You would be amazed at all that you can accomplish. Now there are things that we can’t control in our lives but do everything in your power to take advantage of the variables that you can control. Be ready for anything because you will be faced with many challenges in your lifetime. Be prepared, believe in yourself, you are stronger than you think, embrace your future. If you believe it, don’t think twice about it, do it.
From the Avon Lake Football Winner’s manual, “Bite off more than you can chew and then chew it.” Set your expectations high and then exceed them. Take pride in your accomplishments but more importantly take pride in yourself because you deserve it, all of you. Luck is simply hard work meeting the right opportunity. The opportunity is there, waiting for you, take it, it’s yours. More importantly, never give anything less than your best; be able to look back on your life and say to yourself I did everything that I possibly could, to make the very best of the gifts I was given. If you can do that, if you can leave no doubt, you’re already there.
My fellow classmates of 2012, I wish you all the utmost happiness. It has truly been an honor to have spent the past twelve years of my life with you all. Enjoy this moment as it passes but always have your sights on tomorrow.
Congratulations and thank you."