Valedictory

by Alexander Thomas Stewart, Jr.

Tuesday, May 5, 1931

Powell County Grade School


To the friends gathered here, to the teachers who have so wisely guided and counseled us, and to our fellow students and classmates, it is my privilege to give a farewell greeting. This day finishes another year of our school life and many of us have come today for the last time. The more fortunate of us may go on to high school. The rest of us must go forth into the wide world and put our hand to the wheel of active business life, and learn to shift for ourselves. But where we go we shall find abundant cause to remember our school with gratitude. Our teachers who have labored so faithfully for us, whose patience we have often tried, whose best laid plans, we have often foiled by our heedlessness, our friends who have taken such an interest in our work, and have helped us through many difficulties, our deal old school whose halls have echoed with our tread or resounding with our voices, are vivid memories of the past connection which forbid us to forget each other. May we long cherish these memories, and let us tell to those who have come after us the pleasures of our school days, our blunders, our triumphs, so that they may profit by our experience.


And now dear classmates, we have come to the parting of the road. For years we have traveled the highway together, and save an occasional bypath or some shady nook to ensnare the unguarded, we stand today beneath the guide post. Today we have to decide which of these two roads we shall take. In a distance, I see nothing would mar our happiness or check our progress should we mistake our way. Both roads are apparently well traveled but it seems to me that the left has a gentle and almost imperceptible slope downward, while the right fork seems quite level for a considerable distance. But through the long distance, it apparent that the road inclines upward. I cannot see where the road again branches or where it ends but I am sure it is better to gain higher grounds, for there we will be better able to decide our future course. So let us take the road indicated by the guide post as the road to success, and if any of our friends chance to pass this way they will see our foot prints and know we are just ahead. Let us make sure that we leave distinct impressions as we go, and let the impressions be natural, so as not to mislead our friends, for they will look for characteristics particular to us. Now, let us start all together, not tomorrow or tonight but at once and tomorrow we will pitch our tents beside those whose names are inscribed high on the banner of truth, uprightness, honesty and sobriety, which are the fundamental principles of greatness.


And now the graduating class of this year bids you all a respectable farewell with hopes that prosperity and happiness attends us all in the future as in the past.