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Valedictorian Kenna Armstrong Gives Address To West Central "Class of 2018" Graduates

On Mother's Day, May 13, a packed gymnasium at West Central High School witnessed fifty-four West Central graduates of the "Class of 2018" receiving their graduation diplomas. 2018 Valedictorian of the 13th Graduating Class of West Central High was Kenna Armstrong of Oquawka. The following is her address to the class:

"So much of my life has been spent on this stage; it's my home, where countless friendships were forged and memories were made.

"It's odd to be up here and not saying my lines. It's also odd to think that this in my last time on this stage in my high school career. Odd, but remarkable. Remarkable in the sense that so much has changed, but we did it you guys. We've persevered through curriculum changes, emo phases, and who knows how many spanish teachers. I know I myself have changed so much. Since our freshman year, I've had the honor of becoming friends with nearly forty percent of you, and that's amazing.

"And now I have the honor of giving a speech to send us off, and yes, I promised to keep it short. However, many thank yous are at hand, as well as, some advice I hope you all take to heart.

"My first thank you goes out to the teachers and staff that have surrounded us. over the years, you have pushed us, motivated us, and prepared us for the future.

'To Mr. Boyle with his inside jokes and debates in the scholastic bowl van; I will never look at mints the same way again. Coach, you've taught us to be courteous and to "cover your mouth if you've gotta yawn."

'To Singleton for putting up with me loitering in her room constantly and my (sometimes too) ambitious ideas.

'To Mrs. A for being a ray of sunshine and always rooting us on.

'To Tanya and Nancy, you're both the brains and the brawn of this operation, and we couldn't do it without you. You have been there for us no matter what.

'Thank you to Mrs. Seitz and Sibert for continuing to teach us. To every person that has stepped foot in this building, even the Profes, thank you. The time you have spent with us in class and at extracurriculars means the world, and I know those experiences will go with us for the rest of our lives; I know mine will.

'To all of our parents. You have stood by us and given us so much. You have given us countless rides and been there for us, supporting us to get us to where we are today. Because it wouldn't be me if I didn't throw music into this mess somehow, I've got to quote the band Neck Deep here, "And we just don't say it enough, if not for you, no we wouldn't be standing at all."

"I, myself have one personal thank you, and that is to Jace. I hate to be giving this thank you like this; I wish I were able to tell you in person, but I know that you're still here to hear it. Thank you. Without you, I probably wouldn't have come out of my shell when I did. I wouldn't be who I am today. Thank you for always pushing me to be my best. You will always be the best friend I'll ever have.

"And finally, to the class of 2018. We've grown up together, like it or not, and we've come so far. I am so proud of all of you. We've seen each other at our bests and at our worsts. I believe in you guys, and I wish you all the best. Thank you for going on this journey with me.

"Now, with formalities out of the way, I have some advice for you guys. It will sound cheesy and tedious, but I need you to hear me out. Since we were little, people have always asked us, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Now, it's changed to, "What's your major" and "What careers are you looking at," and to be frank with you, I hate it. I can't answer that, and I know most of you are in the same boat, because I simply don't know. I have ideas, and I have dreams, but I sure don't know just how I'm going to get there.

"So, in retaliation to that, I have a new question for you, "What do you want to do when you wake up?" This is a question I can answer. When I wake up in the morning, I want to make people smile. I have a passion for spreading joy and being a "Mrs. A. esque" ray of sunshine wherever I go. That's all it takes to answer this question, it's finding a passion and running with it.