I was Salutatorian of my high school class, and when I had to finally sit down and write my speech I was way too nervous to think of anything to say. I thought this might help any future Valedictorians or Salutatorians out, or anyone else that has to write a speech. This is the exact copy of the speech that I handed my school's principal:

Ashley's big speech, can you dig it?

I am both honored and pleased to have the privilege of speaking to all of you tonight. Being up here makes those nights of endless homework and sleep deprivation almost seem worth it.

Well now I must say something about why I'm actually up here. Being one of those at the top of your class is of course a result of doing your homework, getting good grades on tests, or getting those weighted A's in excessive amounts of AP classes to inflate your GPA even more, but it is also more than that. Along with skill and intelligence, it can also be attributed to luck. Although, like in every other aspect of life, luck can only take us an inch, while giving it all we’ve got will truly take us a mile. And what does "giving it all we’ve got" encompass? I would say it requires the will to do something productive and worthwhile with the time that we have here, which goes by much too quickly to waste. And determination to get over all of the problems that you have, and not let them affect your capacity to succeed. Or making choices, sometimes good, sometimes bad, and using the results to grow and change. My choices and decisions have, if nothing else, furthered my determination to succeed.

Success, like anything else, is relative. All of us here are successful merely by making it through high school in one piece, and just by being at our graduation. And what is this graduation all about anyway, or rather, why does it matter? Does it mark the inevitable transition from the familiarity and comfort of high school to the unfamiliarity of the real world, in other words a sort of wake up call that we have to finally get a clue? Or is it another excuse to go out and party afterwards and do crazy stuff with your friends? I'd like to think that it is a little bit of both. Every notable event like this should of course have significance in the grand scale of things, because it makes us feel important and accomplished. But it should also just simply make us feel happy. Of course we are confused, anxious and a little sad even, life is suddenly pulling us in several different directions and we don't know where to go or who to turn to because everyone is in the same predicament as we are. However, despite all of that, we've made it and we're done. We've worked so hard, well of course some of us more than others, and stressed out so much about things that probably didn't matter that much anyway. We can go on with our lives now, put all the bad behind us, and just remember all the good times and the smiles and the life-long friendships we've made.

Now, on that note, I'd just like to say thank you to all the people that I would have perished without. Suzette, Caroline, Shaylyn, Claire, Beth, Mel, Kait, Erica, Chaz, Joe and Kristen: you guys are all awesome and I hope we stay friends forever. Mr. Tuttle: you are my favorite teacher of all time and I will never forget how much I learned in your class or from you. Mr. Kulbacki: you made math so fun that I decided to major in it in college, the deep thoughts and the up all night math club especially made it so, keep it up. The Holts: you guys are crazy but your teaching style is wonderfully unique. I will miss it dearly. Dr. G.: you're great, thanks for everything you’ve done for me. Mr. Johnston: I learned alot from you too even though most of it was probably not French, and I could not have asked for a better teacher to spend all of my high school years with. Mrs. Diaz and Mr. Lopez: thanks for your support and for going out of your way to help me so much, I really appreciate it. And my family: thanks for being here and I love you all. Thanks for supporting me in all my endeavors. I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you everyone for coming tonight. It's been fun, and I wish the class of 2001 the best of luck.

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