A beautiful, inspirational speech from 2014 UCHS Salutatorian Molly Patterson.
Do what makes you happy.
Life may be long for you,
Or life may be short,
Either way life is precious,
And whether you have a lot of time to live happily,
Or only a little,
Be the happiest you can be at every moment.
Studies show that the happier you are,
The longer you live.
So choose to be happier for longer,
Instead of sadder for shorter.
Ignore the norm and pay attention to your heart, or whatever guides you,
Know that you will get hurt, but don’t let it stop you.
Know that you can learn something from everyone,
And that knowledge is power.
So when in Rome, talk to those around you, in whatever language or hand gestures you can,
Communication is the ultimate ability.
When given lemons, make lemon meringue,
They say food is the way to the heart, not lemonade.
When given an opportunity, take it.
It may lead you to the love of your life,
Or the heartbreak of the century.
Either way, you learned.
Keep a smile on your face,
Maybe someday it will freeze like that.
Whether you are a leader or a follower,
A professor or a student,
You have something powerful to teach another,
So teach and be taught,
And you will live longer.
That poem contained my words of advice given to my AP Lit class a week ago today. A class containing one amazing teacher and nine students, two of whom received full rides to their dream universities, yet somehow I am up on this stage speaking to you today. My class has had our ups and our downs throughout the thirteen years I have been a student at University City, but I am glad to have been with this particular group of people on our own personal roller coaster. As I have heard so many alumni say in the past, I am proud to have attended University City Schools. I am proud to be part of such an intellectually diverse group of people, who will continue to be a part of me wherever I go in life.
While many of us may not make it too far from University City after graduation, such as Mr. Carter, Mr. Kelton, and all of the other University City alumni who came back to make our district the best it can be, I know there will be others who may even surpass Nelly, I know we have at least one Beyonce and a few Steve Job’s out there. But the truth is that it doesn’t matter how far we get, it’s about what we do with what we were given here at University City High School. It’s about taking our knowledge and spreading it, taking our smiles and making them contagious, and it’s about never forgetting where we learned it.
My goal is for the class of 2014 to change University City’s stereotypes, to someday never be asked again if I got a good education, if I felt safe, or if I would have gone anywhere else given the choice to. I chose to attend University City schools and I wouldn’t change that decision. I am discouraged by those questions and I want ours to be the class to demolish the stereotypes. I want to come back twenty years from now and see that the ‘Hall of Fame’ has grown to be ‘The Halls of Fame’ and I want to see all of the faces I see in this audience up there on those walls.
I have confidence in my dream and in every member of the class of 2014. This class has had many wonderful opportunities, which would not have been possible without Mr. Maclin and Mrs. Johnson. In the two years they have been at University City, the two of them have arranged a trip to Washington, D.C. to watch the Inauguration of our president, and a college tour trip all around Illinois. These were experiences exclusive to our class and make us unique and greatly appreciative.
For me, and I assume many of you here today, high school has been a time of stress, sports, and support. In the midst of hard classes and busy seasons, I had Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Aboussie, and Mrs. I to help me out. These three women, along with my parents, are the reason I am standing here today and I would like to thank them for all of their support. University City’s amazing field hockey coach, Marissa Davenport-Shepard, has also had a huge part in my success as well as three other graduates here tonight. I would like to thank the Class of 2014 for everything each individual has taught us, and the power I hope we will take from the knowledge that we have received and will carry on to our future endeavors.
Molly will be attending the Foster College of Business Administration at Bradley University in the fall, majoring in Business Administration and Business Management.