Katie Costley has attended Arlington Highland Christian School, a co-operative of Arlington Christian and Highland Christian, for 13 years. She has held the offices of class secretary, treasurer, and president. Her sports involvement includes 4 years of volleyball and basketball and 1 year of softball. Her volunteer activities include two summers spent in the Dominican Republic ministering to local children. Katie plans to attend Seattle Pacific University on a Trustee’s Scholarship. She is the recipient of the Comcast Leaders and Achievers scholarship as well as the Everett Leisure Time scholarship.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9. The word “finally,” fitting isn’t? This stage of our life is coming to a close, and with this transition, I want to encourage each of us to take this verse to heart: to live it out no matter where God takes us in life.
First, I want to a moment to thank my own family. My parents have always supported me and I have been so blessed with the family I was given. My mom, for being a soldier to cry on and a guiding force in my life. My dad for always making me laugh and smile and pushing me to be my absolute best. And my sisters, Melody and Holly who have always been there for me. Melody, even if it just means we need a taco, and Holly, for promising me two dollars each time I say Holly in this speech, Holly, thank you Holly, that is quite a blessing Holly. Holly, I do accept cash, Holly. Oh, and Holly, I also accept checks, Holly.
Next, there have been so many people to speak into our lives. I want to thank all of the people who have had such a major influence in our lives: all of our parents, for investing in us with so much work and love, Mrs. Schultz, for staying with us, no matter what, Mrs. Tavenner, for believing in us always, Pastor Steve, for guiding us continuously over the years, Mrs. Meaghan Brown, for inspiring us with love and strength, Ms. Aswege, for encouraging us with joy and humor, and all of our teachers for always being there to help us and finally, our fellow peers, the equivalence of family, I don’t what we would have done without any one of you. You have helped us grow into amazing people, ready to step out into the world. I don’t know how we will survive not seeing you all on a daily basis. We are going to miss you so much, but as C.S. Lewis says, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” You have all prepared us for this: to step out and leave our signature on this world. We are ready to follow God’s path for us. Your impact on our lives is one thing that we will never forget.
C.S. Lewis once said, “Isn’t funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different?” It seems impossible to believe that we are finally here: about to graduate. Ever since freshmen year, we have always been told to cherish our youth and not grow up too fast. I think we did just that, embracing life and growing each day. We’ve created a lot of memories over the years. And now here we are, kind of grown up, and ready to jump into the next step in our lives, no matter how cold the water is.
As we move into this next stage of our lives, no matter where God takes us, I hope we will remember what we learned during our time together and let is guide and inspire us. We have been through so much, and over the years we have formed endless bonds and lifelong friendships. Even though we may have bickered, a lot, at the end of the day we love each other. All we want is for every single one of us to be continually growing into a better person in Christ, and we have been doing just that.
We are all so different but we continue to have one thing in common: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,” Colossians 3:23. We chose this verse in sixth grade, and now here we are: soon to be pastors, engineers, teachers, paramedics, contractors, and that verse still applies to us to each of us today. This is another verse I hope we continue to apply in our daily lives as we set foot in this world.
While we take this next step, I challenge us all: to be lights and inspirations to all of the people we encounter, to never forget who we believe in and what God has done for us, to live for others and not solely ourselves, to persevere through all the persecution and hardships we may encounter, to be teachable and diligent, and to always remember who we are and where we came from. I hope we will all be lights in this world of darkness and refuse to conform to this world, refuse to deny God and what we believe, and refuse to accept lies about who we are or should be.
There may only be a mere twelve of us, but let’s leave an impact on this world. If there is one thing I have learned about this class, it is that we will always make a stand; we never step down from a challenge, or a dare. So, let’s go into the world and show them who we are. One of our greatest adventures is coming to an end, but in the words of Bilbo Baggins, “I think we’re quite ready for another adventure.”