It is Part of Becoming a Success
Editor’s note: This story is Central Penn 2017 valedictorian Morgan Gerz’s speech to her graduating class, and all others, assembled in the Forum in Harrisburg on May 12 for graduation.
Special to the Knightly News
My name is Morgan Gerz.
I am one of 240 students that are here graduating tonight. And just one of the 400 students that are in our graduating class.
Most of you I have never met, but I do know we have something in common: We are all successful.
I am your class valedictorian, and I am also a failure.
The path to success
I got an F on my term paper in 11th-grade English class.
My senior culminating project in high school was a complete disaster.
I lost the game for my soccer team in the league championship because I missed the final penalty kick in overtime.
I begged my sister to move to California with me, which she did, and then I only lasted eight months because I was homesick.
Central Penn College is actually the fourth college I’ve attended.
I got my associate degree at one, and the other two would make me a two-time college drop-out.
These moments in my life can be called failures, because:
- I did not succeed in what I set out to do
- My performance fell short.
- Expectations were not met.
What is failure, and what does success mean?
Failure. It is a lack of success.
Failure. It is a scary word.
Failure. It is reality. It is inevitable.
And it is a risk we must take if we ever want to succeed.
History tells us that failure is essential to success.
Great people have embraced failure. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Michael Jordan, Henry Ford – they have all failed.
Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Winston Churchill wisely stated: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Those of you sitting here in your cap and gown risked failure every time you stepped into the classroom, every time you turned in an assignment, every time you took an exam.
You risked failing in order to be where you sit today.
Different paths, same destination
We have all taken a different journey to get here.
When we leave here today, we will all go our separate ways.
But, today our failures have been overtaken by this unique moment in time, because today, we have succeeded. Today, we graduate.
So, class of 2017, congratulations, and I bid you farewell with a challenge. When you depart from Central Penn College and begin your next stage in life, I ask you to remember three Fs. And, no, none of them are failure.
Remember the three Fs
First, don’t forget to have “fun,” because you have most certainly earned it.
Second, be “fierce.” I love this word because it is so powerful. And you now have the power to do things and make a difference. Don’t run from fear, because I believe that having fears and facing those fears are what will ultimately make us stronger.
And third, have “faith” in yourself. Have faith that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, faith that you will overcome failure.
I mean, just take a look around at where we are. That gown you’re wearing? And that tassel hanging down?
That means WE ARE GRADUATES.
And however long it took you, whatever path you took to get here, however many failed attempts it took, what matters in the end – what matters today – is that you did it, you are a graduate.
Congratulations, Central Penn College Class of 2017.
May your successes and accomplishments always be bigger than your failures.
To comment on this story, or to suggest a story, contact the KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.edu.
Edited by Media Club Co-adviser Prof. Michael Lear-Olimpi.
Gerz majored in accounting. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree. The Knightly News thanks her for her contribution to our blog, and wishes her luck in her future endeavors. Photo courtesy of Morgan Gerz.