(Excerpt from Jaeden Lincoln’s 2020 Graduation Speech)

Welcome parents, faculty,  and honored guests. My name is Jaeden Lincoln and I am the 2020 Class President. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to speak at our graduation ceremony tonight as today’s world is very different than it was four months ago.

To my classmates:

I didn’t think we were going to see this day, but we made it. We have had to endure challenges some people may not completely understand.

Nevertheless, we always get through whatever life throws at us. There are many regrets about missing out on our final four months of high school, but I always believe we should take the opportunity to let others know there are positives we can focus on.

As musician Duke Ellington once said: “A problem is a chance for you to do your best.”

Obstacles like these are the secret to appreciating your life for everything it is worth. From the little things that seem arbitrary to your biggest accomplishments, this too shall pass, and it will serve as motivation to keep reaching, chasing, and achieving your dreams.  

Looking back over the past few months, time seems to have passed in the blink of an eye. I’ve met, cherished, and lost people along the way, as we all have. This is simply a testament to our strength and character as we fall upon new horizons in the next couple of weeks. 

Some of us will attend college. Others will continue within nursing as certified nursing assistants. Some are on their way to be division 1 athletes. We also have those who have, or will, enlist in the United States Military to serve our country. Also,  some of us who will continue to work through challenges we’ve yet to face in order to be one step closer to our calling, and then some of us are still banking on becoming TikTok famous. 

In closing, we are the change we want to see in the world. We need to grab this chance and spread love, kindness and work toward our goals, for we are the makers of our own destiny. It is time to strive for what we want and deserve with hard work and ambition. Stand up for what you believe even if it isn’t the popular opinion. Help give a voice to those who need love and acceptance. Be a light and a change maker in a world that is far from perfect. I believe each and every one of us has this unlocked potential. You have the power. Use it.

It has been an honor to be a part of the PCHS 2020 graduating class.

•Jaeden Lincoln is a recent Pierce County High School graduate and President of the Class of 2020.