2012 Valedictorian Speech

If there is one thing that I have learned from being here at Shepherd’s Hill, it is that no body, not a single person in the world, ever stops moving spiritually.  You can move forwards, or you can move backwards, but either way you’re always moving.  In the past (almost) year here at Shepherd’s Hill I have grown exponentially, as have all of the girls here with me.  But I praise God knowing that there will always be new things to learn and new ways to grow ever closer to God.

Growth and change is a theme that is central to every inspirational and epic movie and story in existence.  There is not a single story out there where all the characters remain static.  As human beings, there is a thirst in us that strives for growth and change.  There is a reason why all of us have this insistent desire to grow and change, and God has made us to always be seeking change.  The problem is, we try to grow in all the wrong ways, and are discouraged by the lack of satisfaction that we feel.  It is my firm belief that any growth that is not towards God is not growth at all but regression.

God has placed this inclination for growth inside every one of us.  It is our natural compass that points towards Him.  And until it is followed, we can never have the true joy that comes with doing what we are made to do.

God does not promise that this growth will be easy, though.  Romans 5:3 says, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  Because of the Holy Spirit in us, we will never stop growing.

Thanks to Shepherd’s Hill I have discovered the way to grow.  I am not discouraged when things get hard, and now I can face this world with courage and strength.  I encourage my fellow class of 2012, after they leave here, to continue seeking new growth; to not get discouraged by failure; and to follow God with all of their strength.  I know that they will miss SHA, and that all of us here will miss them greatly, but as long as we are all working towards the same goal, we will never say goodbye forever.

I have a few people to thank for helping on my own journey to my goal.  Thank you Next Step roommates, for being such amazing friends and leaders to me, I have learned so much from you; I would also like to thank Mrs. Beth Embry & Mr. Trace Embry for their ceaseless efforts to do God’s will, and for creating Shepherd’s Hill, the place where I finally found what I was searching for; Mr. Steve Schyck for his constant effort to get me settled on a college, in spite of my indecisiveness and numerous mind-changes; all of my teachers here for being such wonderful instructors and giving me wisdom that I will use for the rest of my life; Mr. Eric, for answering my never-ending questions and helping me to understand a small bit more of my infinite God; all the awesome wood’s girls, for loving and supporting me on my journey; and the beautiful and courageous counselors for your godly examples.  It was the peace of God I saw in you that helped me to start seeking.

And finally, thank you Daddy and Mama for loving me enough to save me in spite of my resistance.  Thank you for making the hard decision to face my anger and hatred and do what was best for me.  Thank you for not caring about my opinion and doing what was right.  I love you, and now, because of your strength and love, I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Shepherd’s Hill Academy
2012 Valedictorian


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