Corey Yardley

Dream Big

To The Iowa Valley High School Graduating Class of 2011

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To The Iowa Valley High School Graduating Class of 2011:

I would like to begin by congratulating each and every individual of the class of 2011.  Everyone is so proud of you and I can guarantee everyone except me showed you today.  I can’t tell you how sorry I am for not being there at the ceremony, or for your parties.  But my heart has been broken since I found out I couldn’t represent you this afternoon.  But you nominated me as your speaker, and I don’t know how many of you will read this but here are bits and pieces from my speech.    

Words cannot describe how honored I am to speak on behalf of such a talented, special, and unique class.  I know that I’m not the only person room who feels that I am unworthy to represent such a fine group of young adults.  At times I think to myself, “Wow there are billions of people in the world who have accomplished much more than I have, who are far more educated, and billions of people who are fit as better role models”.  That’s no exaggeration either.  But if there was someone who I thought that could do a better job, I would have gladly stepped down.  So thank you all for this opportunity.

You could have selected a teacher, or a coach like every other class has done the past decade, but this class went the exact opposite route than every other.  Instead, you chose someone who is not much farther ahead of you in life.  Someone who felt the same multiple emotions that are churning inside of you as I speak.  It was only 4 years ago that I was one of you- sad, scared, happy, and anxious all held together by a cap and gown.

Today you are literally reborn.  After today, you are all even again.  Throw away your grade point average, your class rank, how popular you are, because at the end of the day you all have the same degree.  You may not have the same opportunities but I can guarantee you that if you want something bad enough, nothing can get in between you and your dream.  Not money, not grades, not your parents, not your friends, not your enemies, NOTHING, can stop you.

I always do my best to avoid clichés but I think if they get my message across, then why not?

You have two doors.  Door A is safe.  You have walked in and out of it so many times; many of you have done so since kindergarten.  And if you haven’t attended Iowa Valley your entire life, maybe one of your peers helped you walk through it the first few times.  In one way or another you metaphorically walked through this door for the last time, and when you receive your diploma you are forever shutting door A.

Before you shut door “A” I want you to visualize with me.  I want you to try and think of everything negative that you walked in and out of door A with.  The bad days, the bad games, the bad concerts, the bad grades, the bad teachers, the fights, classes you disliked, people you disliked, anything negative at all.  Make a big ball out of it and keep it to the side.

Now visualize everything positive that you associate withIowaValley.  The good times, the good seasons in sports, the good concerts or contests, your good grades, your favorite teachers, the memories that will never leave you, the classes that you enjoyed and excelled in, the people you love, anything positive that you can think of.  Close your eyes and keep it stored some place safe.

Go back to that big ball of crap.  The only thing I want you to do with this big ball of crap is to learn from it.  Other than learning your negative experiences serve no purpose, so when you get your diploma and shut that door for one last time, leave that big ball of crap behind you.

Unlike the big ball of crap I want you to carry the memory ball with you wherever you go.  Whenever you need a good laugh, or are scared, or feel alone, pull out a memory you’ve all had with one another and if that doesn’t work, pull out another one, and another one, and another one.  I promise it will make you feel much better.

Door “B” is scary, and if you aren’t afraid of it then you don’t know what it can hold behind it.  This isn’t to say you can’t conquer it, but it is nothing like door “A”.  It holds endless opportunities, and even though high school stresses college as the #1 choice, there really is no wrong answer.  Whether you work right out of high school, fight for our country, or further your education through a 2 or 4 year school, all I ask is for you to give 100%.  It may take you years before you find your passion, but until then, try your absolute best in everything you do and you will find it.  I don’t care if you’re digging ditches, defending our country, or being a student, be the best at whatever you do and good things will happen.

You all have a talent and maybe high school showed you this and maybe it didn’t, but everyone is good at something.  Once you find that one thing that you’re passionate about do it for you.  Who cares if your parents like it, or society likes it, or your friends like it, follow your passion.  And if someone tells you that you can’t do it, prove them wrong.

You are an incredibly special and talented class, and I am very close to many of you.  I watched you grow up and it has been a pleasure, and I hope that many of you will consider me as a big brother figure.  I want to conclude this letter by making sure that you all know that I am here for you.  Next year is going to be scary, but I can promise you it is the best year of your life and I hope that you make the most of it.  Always know that I am here for you if you have any questions, or are afraid, or need some advice academically or with life in general. 

I love you all and thank you SO much for nominating me. 

CONGRATULATIONS AND DREAM BIG!

CY

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Written by coreyyardley

May 22, 2011 at 10:14 PM

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