Having selective mutism, it has been difficult for Samantha Rose to open up to people.
When she first moved to Crothersville, she said she didn’t talk to anyone at school. Still, though, others were really friendly to her.
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Once she started opening up to a few people, she said it seemed like everyone knew her.
“That is the thing about a small school,” Rose said. “Everyone knows just about everyone else.”
On Friday night, she shared that story while giving her valedictorian speech to the Crothersville High School Class of 2019 and those gathered to support them and wish them well.
“Struggles like these have made me stronger and have taught me a lot about myself,” she said. “I knew that if I kept my grades up, I would be up here giving a speech, and that terrified me, but as Mandy Hale once said, ‘It’s OK to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really brave.’”
She said that quote reminds her that although she has been through a lot, it has only made her a stronger and better person.
“The memories I made here at Crothersville will always be with me, and I am so glad to be graduating from here, like several of my family members before me,” Rose said.
Her 24 classmates have been a big part of her experience in school, she said.
“I know that at some point, everyone thought about dropping out because they didn’t want to be here anymore or just didn’t want to do all the work,” she said.
“Well, today is our last day we have to be here,” she said. “Some of us may miss it. Some of us may be excited that it is finally over. Either way, we will all go our separate ways. Some of us may keep in touch, others won’t, but we always need to remember what got us to where we are and how we can keep growing, even if our parents don’t want us to. I hope you all follow your dreams and achieve everything you set out to do.”
In closing, Rose thanked those who have supported the seniors.
“Teachers and staff, thank you for helping us get to this point and for dealing with us,” she said. “To family and friends, thank you for helping us get through all the stress of school and making it fun. Finally, to the former graduates that showed us that it is possible to get through school, thank you. Everyone in this room helped in many ways, and I am beyond grateful for everything.”
In his salutatorian address, Will Amick told the class that the future is in their hands.
“We began here many years ago as children, but we are leaving as adults,” he said. “We’ve surpassed a milestone that will serve as the platform we use to launch ourselves into our futures. Some of us will go on to college, others the workforce and a special few will go to the military, but each of us will travel our own path.”
No matter where the class members go or what they do, Amick said there are challenges ahead.
“What I’m asking from each of you and from myself is to meet those challenges straight on with your head held high and your heart wide open,” he said. “It’s not enough to simply try to get by in life. That doesn’t move the world forward. You must try to excel in everything you do, strive for excellence in every task, large or small.”
Every accomplishment achieved is added to the world’s accomplishments, Amick said.
“Your individual successes benefit society as a whole because when you succeed, you lighten the burden on your fellow man,” he said. “When you succeed, you are in a position to give rather than take.”
He asked the class to imagine if everyone lived up to his or her own potential how amazing that would be and how much better off the world would be.
“We may not have the power to inspire the entire world to strive for success, but we do have the power to try to achieve it for ourselves,” Amick said. “My challenge to each of you and to myself is to do all that you can do to reach your full potential. If everyone here today is able to do that, just imagine the effect that would have. The future is truly in our hands, so let’s make the most of it.”