As individuals graduating in the year 2000, preparing to go our separate
ways, we all share something in common: those wonderful memories from growing up
in the eighties. Back then we had no worries or responsibilities, except for the
chance that we might not, for some reason, get home in time to watch
Transformers, Scooby-doo, or Thundercats. Being employed and finishing a
research paper at the same time wasn\'t an issue. Our only job was to have fun
playing with He-Man, Shera, GI Joe, or My Little Pony with our best friend from
around the corner. Boys and girls and even Barbies conformed to the style of the
time wearing jams, stone-washed jeans, pinned pants, and big, spiky hair.
Listening to Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, Cyndi Lauper, and Boy George was "rad."
Michael Jackson and his glove were "cool." All the girls wanted to
look like Madonna. We looked up to these people and they were our heroes.
Television was worth watching then. Our favorite movie was and still is The
Goonies. It was hard to decide if you wanted to watch the A-Team, Knight Rider,
or the Smurfs. We were so innocent and carefree. We believed the CareBear stare
actually worked.

But now we are grown up and we have bigger, more important decisions to make
about colleges, majors, and jobs. Having fun still matters, but our
responsibilities take precedence over recreation. We have left the imaginary
realm of the Fraggles and entered the real world where we have realized that
nothing can be taken for granted anymore, especially friendships. Wasn\'t the
reason for coming to school in the first place, to see friends and have a few
laughs?! Life thus far dealt a lot with our relationships with others. Our
friends, family, and teachers have helped to influence who we are and they will
continue to shape our lives. I have learned a lot about people throughout high
school and I\'ve come to the conclusion that most fall into one of three
categories: those who can count, and those who cannot. But what is more
important is on whom you can count. The bonds we have made with one another are
very strong. Even though some of us will be going away after graduation, the
memories will endure and always put a smile on our faces and perhaps even a tear
in our eyes.

We grew up during a unique time that encouraged us to develop as individuals.
Retaining your own identity is imperative and you must never take yourself for
granted. I believe that these are the essential elements in achieving success,
which you must define for yourself. Be proud of who you are and admit that you
have weaknesses as well as strengths. You are your own person and have unique
abilities, so use them to turn your dreams into feasible goals, and then to make
your goals realities.

Finally, I would like to share with you a perspective with which I try to
view life. Just as each one of us is different and special, so is each day. We
are giving twenty-four hours of our lives in exchange for each new day. Because
each day is a part of your life and becomes your memories, strive to do
something worthwhile. Make the present count for a promising future and a
meaningful past.

In closing, I would like to leave you with some valuable words of wisdom from
William Shakespeare\'s Hamlet. "This above all: to thine own self be

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