Like John Legend, Michelle Obama, and both of my siblings, I graduated salutatorian of my high school class.
Here is a taste of the speech I gave at my graduation.
…I was thinking that the classic Nintendo arcade game, Donkey Kong, wonderfully sums up life and graduation. At graduation, we think about the ladder of success, and the obstacles we find on the way up. In Donkey Kong, it’s more like a scaffolding of success, but Super Mario strives to climb to the top while a giant monkey rolls barrels in his way to hinder his progress. Like in real life, it always seems like there’s a giant monkey rolling barrels in your path, just to prevent you from succeeding.
But life is more complicated than a barrel of monkeys. Sure, it includes goals and challenges, but life also exposes you to a lot of great people, with a lot of great talents. To quote my favorite poet, Mr. Anonymous, “Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.”