CLASS of 2020: Gideon Riches, Rocky Bayou Christian School
Across the Emerald Coast, top high school students are giving speeches in empty auditoriums in front of cameras that will offer up a digital version of this year’s graduation.
The Daily News invited those students selected to speak at their high school graduations to send their speeches for publication. We hope you enjoy a peek at some of the area’s best and brightest students.
Gideon Riches, Niceville
Rocky Bayou Christian School
Fellow classmates, faculty, staff, the Mosleys, family, friends, and everyone else watching from home—I want to thank you for joining me in celebrating the class of 2020. I especially want to thank those watching from home, especially because I would never want to watch graduation on a screen. That would be like watching a two and a half hour long movie that is all end credits.
As I began to write this, I asked myself, “What makes our class so unique? What is the legacy that our class has left here?” After all, back in high school, they did call us the dream class.
Ever since K3, we have been on this journey together to make a name for ourselves. Some of our greatest accomplishments include getting to take naps everyday in kindergarten, the B class beating the A class at field day every year in elementary, not being able to change “Servolution” back to “Workathon”, and averaging four school trips a year that went to Disney World.
It all culminated in this year, where our class set the record for going to school the least out of any other class, due to the virus. All of these different aspects define our journey as a class, which leads me to the main point of my talk: Super Mario Bros.
How many of you have played Super Mario Bros, or at least know what it is? In that game, the objective is to beat Bowser and save Princess Peach. Beating Bowser is the main goal, and only after beating him can you finally reunite the princess with everyone’s favorite Italian stereotype.
In fact, I beat Bowser so many times that back in high school they called me the Bowser Beater Boy. It is a satisfying goal to achieve, but… it’s not why you play the game.
The reason games are so enjoyable is because of the journey. If you don’t enjoy the journey, the goal is deprived of all the satisfaction. This can also be said about our last fifteen years at Rocky. We all had one goal—to end up here, about to graduate.
However, in ten years, when you look back on this class, you won’t be thinking about the time we graduated. No, you’ll think of all the fantastic times we had together, with your friends, acquaintances, and Patrick.
The same is true in life—we set goals, like getting a degree, or a well-paying job, or a thriving family—but too often we sacrifice the journey for the end. We focus on the goal ahead of us, but we forget to enjoy the journey along the way. We don’t set goals simply to achieve those goals—sure, it’s nice to get a degree or land a job, but the friends and memories you made along the way are just as important.
My advice to you, fellow classmates, is to enjoy the journey. God has a plan for each of our lives, and there is nothing that we can do to alter that plan. As legendary philosopher and poet Kendrick Lamar once said, “If God got us, we gon’ be alright.” I know that we will beat many Bowsers as a class, but I implore you to take a second, breathe, and remember to enjoy the journey.
Now I have some one-liners that I want to say as long as you all have to listen to me. After all, back in high school they called me the one-liner diner. Please laugh.
A friend and I were playing chess the other day, and he said to me, “Let’s make this interesting.” … So we stopped playing chess.
My grandfather has the heart of a lion… and a lifetime ban from the London zoo.
My friend asked me the other day, “Gideon, if you could have any superpower, what would it be?” I thought for a second then said, “probably cold war Russia.”
It’s so sad that a family can be torn apart by something as simple as feral hogs.
Anyways, now that those are out of the way, I once again wanted to congratulate the class of 2020 for making it this far. We have a long road ahead of us, but remember that God has a plan for each and every one of us, so cherish the journey while it lasts. After all, back in high school, I know that I certainly called us the best class to ever graduate this school. Thank you.
If your student is a top grad who would normally be speaking at graduation, please send a copy of the prepared speech, a headshot, his or her hometown and the name of the school to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also accepting parent- or student-submitted photos celebrating your graduate if he or she attends school in Okaloosa, Walton or Santa Rosa counties. Send those pictures to email@example.com