GRADUATION: ‘We are family,’ says BR valedictorian

Photos by Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise Valedictorian Logan Goff waits in the Black River auditorium after practicing the turning of the tassel before the ceremony.

Salutatorian Erin Heilman gives her speech comparing years of life to chapters in a book and explains the importance of memories.

“Hold on to your memories,” valedictorian Logan Goff and salutatorian Erin Heilman told their fellow Black River High School classmates Friday.

Heilman gave her speech first and compared life to a book, saying each year is like a new chapter.

“I look back at these chapters with a smile because I truly do not believe it could have been any better,” she said. “All the drama or anger or freaking out because I didn’t start a paper u til the night before was all part of the experience. I learned from everything both inside and outside the classroom.”

She urged fellow graduates to keep adding to their life stories.

“Black River Class of 2015, class has ended but your book is not complete and we have not even come close to the best parts,” she said. “Never stop learning, changing, and growing because no one likes a character that never changes.”

Heilman added that nothing could truly prepare them for the future, but they can always look back on these chapters for guidance. Instead of dwelling on the past, graduates should use it to their advantage.

Goff built on the importance of memories in his speech by reminding his classmates that those frozen moments in time are eternal.

“We are all going in different directions and these memories will live on forever,” he said. “We have lived, laughed, loved, and most recently cried through all these hallways together.”

He admitted he isn’t quite ready to begin his new journey without all of his classmates by his side.

“We have been counting down to this day not realizing that we are not able to count backward,” said Goff, adding that he wasn’t going to give any advice on how to live a successful life from here on out.

Goff instead shared with the members of the Class of 2015 the memories they created together because that is what he believes life is all about: living, loving and making memories.

“There’s a special quote that states, ‘We did not know we were making memories. We were just having fun,’” he said. “But what I’ve also realized is that we are making these memories not realizing we were making a family.”

Goff ended his speech by encouraging his fellow seniors to make a difference in the world.

“Proceed passionately. Be brave. Dare to dream,” he said. “At the end of the day, family is all you have — a family now and a family forever.”

Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.