By Dinh LeValedictorian, LCCHSWow, what a night. I would say that I am speechless but that defeats the purpose of me standing here. Before I started on this speech, I went around asking for advice on what to say. The advice that constantly popped up was to keep the speech short.Finally, I went to my parents for advice. I told them, ‘I think I’m going to keep my speech short, what do you think mom and dad?’ They stared at me for a few seconds and then burst into laughter. They asked me if I had ever heard myself talk. Well to me, having my own parents tell me to keep it short on their own son’s speech is a really big hint. Before I move on any further, gratitude and thank yous are needed. For my awesome parents and for all of the awesome parents who are here today, because without you guys, we wouldn’t be here at all. For the custodians, lunch ladies, and bus drivers for providing a clean environment in which to learn, nutritious meals and safe transportation; teachers, staff members, administration, and the board of education as well those who work in the Trojan Learning Center who have groomed us for greatness and sometimes given us second chances. Another group that deserves our thanks and gratitude is our counseling department because they have done and given so much to this class. Since applause is held to the end, at that time I would like for all of us to give them the biggest applause Lamar County has ever heard. Throughout the years I have grown to love Lamar County. Yes, it is small and isolated. Yes, it is boring at times. Yes, it hasn’t really been known for anything besides Buggy Days and recently The BBQ and Blues Festival. And, yes, maybe it hasn’t been the place where most of us have shown our greatest potential ‘“ at least not yet. What I love about Lamar County is that we are such a close knit community. I can walk into the public library and the amazing librarians know my name (It has nothing to do with being a nerd). I can have nice conversations with complete strangers. I can wave at somebody and they wave back without thinking I’m a complete lunatic. Lamar County is, in a way, the perfect pond in which to raise fish who are then capable of surviving in any streams, rivers, lakes or even oceans. So, what makes Lamar County a perfect pond? The answer is easy, because of all the amazing people who chose to call this place their home. However we, the class of ’09, are ready to move on and change the world. I along with everyone in this stadium, in this county, even in this region, can see truly amazing potential in this class like no other. Our class will be remembered not only for being one of the best classes to ever graduate, but also for being the class that went on to achieve great things. As a powerful storm, our class will enter the real world and leave our mark. The truth is this ‘“ we are the catalyst, the force behind the everlasting change that is to come. However, there is one thing we must never change about ourselves; our values. People and things all around us will alter the way we look, the way we live and the way we interact with others but it can never change our values. To tell the truth, our values are something we have complete control over, it is our identity in life. People might not remember all of our achievements and mistakes but our values will always be remembered by people whose lives we have touched. Losing this is like losing who you are. Once you lose it, you begin to lose at the game of life. I’m not saying there is no room for mistakes and that we will never get off course. After all, we all make mistakes regardless as to how smart, experienced or wise we are. Experience will teach us things we tended to ignore when the adults were lecturing us. For example, my mom told me the most enduring memory she experienced was when she attempted to burn half a string of firecrackers; this experience taught her more than what my grandfather’s words ever did. After telling me the story, my parents asked me, ‘Why do we make mistakes?’ I pondered that question and the best answer I came up with was ‘that are we just not good enough?’ After scolding me for answering a question with a question, my father said ‘No son, we make mistakes so we can be better. A good mistake will teach us not to repeat it again.’ After that wonderful life lesson of course, they made me do the dishes and laundry again because it wasn’t good enough. I sure learned from that mistake. Before we depart, class of ’09, I encourage you all to remember this ‘“ If one of us were to become lost, we the class of ’09 will be there for you. If one of us were to fall, we the class of ’09 will be there for you. Even more, if any Lamar countians were to need our service, we the class of ’09 will be there for you. Regardless of the reason, we the class of ’09 will be there for you. Time after time.