Someone once said, "Time doesn't wait for anyone. Don't wait for it to fall on your lap; you have to make it happen." As most of you know, this is easier said than done.

Remember all of the times you were late for class, or all of the weekends where you would tell yourself that you will finish your paper on Saturday night, and then you pull an all-nighter on Sunday to turn your paper in the next day? I can honestly say that I remember those times. My teachers can attest to it.

High school is a time when we grow and mature. Most of us will not be able to procrastinate in the real world; turning papers in late, being late for jobs, not paying the bills on time. It is a cruel world out there. You will rarely find sympathetic people who will give you leeway.

Today is the day that we need to choose whether or not to change our old ways and look ahead to the future, or continue to let America believe that we are the slacker generation.

M. Nazario said, "Don't allow a negative environment to affect you; feel inside and trust your inner voice, and don't be afraid to show your abilities and talents."

When we leave here today, we are going to go our separate ways; but we all need to continue to have one thing in common. We need to let the world know that the class of 2004 will not be held back, and that we are going to go out in this world and make a difference.

We, the class of 2004, are going to be trendsetters, lawyers, doctors and teachers of tomorrow. It is up to us to set an example for generations to come.

"They who know how to employ opportunities will often find that they can create them; and what we can achieve depends less on the amount of time we possess than on the use we make of our time", as John Stuart Mill put it. He was right.

We have an opportunity right now, to go out in this world and use the time that we have, to better not only ourselves, but our friends, families, communities and the nation. We can make a difference. We can be rebels with a cause; a cause to better the world we live in.

No matter how big or small a problem is, there is always a solution; and with most solutions to a problem, someone or something is always benefiting from it. Today, we live where diversity is more accepted. There are so many different areas, that all of you sitting here today, no matter what you are going to do, have the potential to better yourselves through these areas.

Not all of us will go on to college, and not all of us will be successful right out of high school. But if we all choose to go out and use our time wisely, we will eventually have succeeded.

So I tell you here, today, class of 2004, don't waste your time, life is too short and too precious to sit back and do nothing.

Copyright © 2004 Mandy Walters