When I graduated from high school, each of the valedictorians (there were 10 of us - I graduated with a class of over 360) got to have 30 seconds during the graduation ceremonies to give a speech.
My 30 seconds were spent talking about pancakes.
When we were freshmen, it was if a huge stack of pancakes was staring us in face. The next four years seemed daunting - something that would take forever to get through. But before we knew it, here we were graduating. We'd finished off the stack and were headed off into the world to achieve bigger and better things.
But the problem was - we had another stack of pancakes in front of us.
The difference this time was that we got to choose the next stack.
High school was a forced stack of pancakes - everyone had to go, take the required classes and get through.
But the future was ours to decide what "flavor" we wanted to order.
Last night I got to sit in on some interviews up at the high school here in town.
Seven FFA members had applied for their state degree, but had to give a presentation about their SAE (ag project) and FFA experiences first.
It was amazing -
These kids had taken the "stack of pancakes" given to them their freshmen year...
and added to it.
They'd poured on the syrup, the blueberries and whipped cream.
Part time jobs, home improvement, working on the family farm, marketing livestock, creating breeding programs, competing in FFA events - balanced alongside good grades, sports, church and community activities.
I was impressed. And excited.
I know it sounds hokey, but these kids have achieved a lot - and worked their tails off. And their future will be better because of what they've done.
Congratulations to those Heppner FFA members - you know who you are.
You reminded me:
"The greatest achievement of the human spirit is to live up to one's opportunities and make the most of one's resources."
- Marquis de Vauvenarques