I’m starting to see it now — a small glowing light at the end of a tunnel. Each day its luminosity increasing. It’s a light that I am gracious to see, because in many instances I wondered if I ever would.
May 16 is more than a graduation day to me. It’s more than walking across the stage to receive my diploma. It’s more than an ending and even more than a hopeful beginning. It’s a time to reminisce about the things I have seen, people I have met, and even more importantly, the things I have learned.
In many ways, Peabody has molded me into the person I am today — the familiarity of the people, the same streets greeting me, and the wholesome feeling of family that comes with our ZIP code is something for which I will be forever grateful.
I feel I owe our community a thank you. Even though “thank you” doesn’t say nearly what is necessary, it is the only thing I know to offer. I also want to give an extended thank you to a few special people.
To the teachers and staff of USD 398: Thank you for the infinite effort you have always given toward the knowledge of your learners. I was one who walked the halls and can tell others through experience that Peabody-Burns has never wanted anything but the very best for its students. Our district is so blessed to have the administration we have and I’m not sure where we would be if it weren’t for a couple of our “big wigs” who know what they’re doing.
I feel I am more than prepared for the demands of life because of what I was taught growing up.
To Rick and Vickie Turner and Curtis and Christie McBride: Thank you for instilling in me the importance of a work ethic. Business owners today don’t have to choose young people as their employees but you overlooked this and gave me the chance to experience things in the work field. Sustaining a job (or, like me, two jobs) is an imperative part of being a respectable adult in society. You were not only my bosses but my mentors and my friends. I have nothing but the utmost respect for all of you, and when the time finally comes to end the story of my work history in Peabody, I will have nothing but gratitude to extend to you.
I will always make a point to stop in and say hello to my fellow co-workers because I do consider all of you family.
To Susan Marshall: Since I was a young child, I looked admirably at what you do. I have always considered you one of my idols in life. I know to some this expression might seem to be a bit much but it stems from the bottom of my heart. From first talking to you in grade school to our now casual conversations, you have exuded nothing but everything I someday want to become. You are a strong, wise, and witty woman. When push comes to shove, you have no problem putting yourself out there so maybe somebody will listen to what you have to say and it will make an impact.
If it were not for the opportunities you have given me, there’s no way I would have accomplished some of the things I have so far and wouldn’t have the means necessary to accomplish the things I know I will in the future. You will forever hold a special place in my heart and I cannot wait to come back and visit with you about my latest endeavors outside of Peabody.
Lastly, to my family: You will always be the link to my past and the bridge to my future. I may not express it enough, but know that you have shaped me into who I am. Growing up I heard time and time again that someday you will thank your family for many of the times they might have upset you. I never believed it until I matured enough to look outside my own little world and recognize that you did everything you did simply because you loved and cared for me.
We might be a little crazy and rough around the edges but at the end of the day there is nothing I wouldn’t give for my family, and I know to expect the same in return.
So, there it is. A statement of my appreciation to those important to me as the first chapter of my life comes to an end. I would say it’s been a pretty good one and can’t wait to turn the page and see what happens as the story unfolds.
Put best by Eleanor Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”