All of us in this room today walk different paths in life, but all of those paths have lead us to today. After meeting together in this room, those paths will once again branch off.

Some of us will be heading off to the military, some of us will enter the workforce, and some of us will go to college. After today, we will join the Air Force, join the National Guard, get jobs, get our associates, bachelors, masters, or even doctorates.

Every one of us is unique, full of unique aspirations, and yet we are all here today celebrating the same achievement. Many of our paths will twist and turn, they may break off and start again, but we will still remember the days we had here at Redwood Valley.

However, it should be noted that while our career choices will be different, our lifestyles do not need to be dissimilar.

Most of us will likely leave Redwood Falls, Morton, Belview or other nearby towns and end up in new ones. We will all be working individuals in each community, whether it be in a small, open town or a large, compact city. But we should go beyond being simple consumers, producers, or laborers. 

We should expand our scope to focus on others, whether it be donating to the blood drive, building a playground, or helping to install solar panels for houses and local businesses. These ventures will take time out of our daily lives, but they help maintain the quality of the future, whether we are a part of it or not.

It took a myriad of generations to get society to where it is today, and there will likely be many more to follow in this cycle of advancement.

Remember that even if you weren’t in NHS, student council, UNITY, and/or other community-focused organizations in high schools, you still have time to make an impact.

When we think about the future we must think about both the past and the present.

A core belief to the Dakota people is in our decision making we are always to be cognizant of the seven generations before us and the seven after us. To be the best people we can be we must think about our seven generations of ancestors. We have to realize what our relatives had gone through to make our lives what they are today. We must not only think about the hardships they endured but the blessings as well. Realizing that the choices they made were not always easy, but they made choices with us in mind. Without those past seven generations, we would not be who we are today.

Then, after acknowledging the previous seven generations, we must look at the seven generations that are to come. We must be aware of the impact that our choices and actions will have on these next seven generations. We must stay mindful of the people who impacted us, as well as who we will impact in the future.

When we began high school, many of us had no clue what the next four years had in store. You might have tried several different activities, from choir to robotics to UNITY, until you found one that made you feel at home.

As we’ve grown up, we have all been shaped by the people around us and the choices we made. This will continue as we make our way into the rest of our lives.

Even when we take wrong turns or make choices we regret, we are becoming the people we really are.

Every graduate from the Redwood Valley Class of 2019 will have a different, individual path. As we strive to become the best people we can be, we will all find our way.