Class of 2019
Valedictorian
Class Valedictorian Twelve years has not been enough time to prepare me for this moment, but here we are. There have been many people along the way that pushed me to be my best and helped me make this dream a reality. I would like to start off by thanking my friends and family for their endless love and support. Especially my brother, for bringing out the nerd in me and always telling me that one day I would be up here. To our exchange students, Cri and Emma, thank you for teaching me about your cultures and becoming lifelong friends. Last but definitely not least, I have to thank my band family. You have always been there for me and the memories we share I will treasure forever. I love you. 

Now, I have learned quite a few things in high school, and no I’m not talking about Chemistry or Algebra. Today, I want to share with you the five most important things I learned that you can't be taught in a classroom.

Number one. Focusing on the future is okay, but don’t obsess over it. I have longed to graduate since I first started high school. As graduation grew closer, I realized more every day how we can get caught up in the future. How every moment becomes about the next big thing. I want to remind everyone to take your time.

Number two. Stress is a tool, not your enemy. Stressing over deadlines is never fun, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Grab a coffee, some friends and work through it together. Stress feels like the end of the world until you find ways of using that stress to overcome your obstacles. I find that I do some of my best work under pressure. Like this speech.

Number three. Cherish the time you have with your friends. Whether you are going to the same college or are hours apart, you are going to be busy. Make time to be with them and catch up every so often. But also don’t be afraid to make new friends along the way.

Number four. Persistence does pay off. Even all the way up here, I can see that look on your face Mr. Keiper. Ever since I was a little girl I have always loved Jurassic Park. So, when I joined band in the 5th grade I decided that it was my only goal as a musician to play the theme song. While he was choosing the music for every concert, I would ask “Can we play Jurassic Park?” And the answer was always the same. “No.” Seven years, and several tries later I had almost given up. If you attended our Music in our Schools Month concert, then you know that dream finally came true. Never give up.

Lastly, number five. You won’t always feel like you have everything together, but that’s okay. No matter how hard you try, sometimes it feels like nothing is happening in your favor. Remember not to compare yourself to anyone else. Their achievements do not equal your failure. I don’t have a clue what career I will have but I know that I will figure it out as time goes on. 

Although I have learned a lot in high school, I am sure that the coming years will teach me more valuable lessons. As the philosopher Aristotle said, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” So as we move on to this next chapter of our lives, never forget to learn and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Thank you.
                                                                                                         ~Alyna Cascone
Keynote Speaker

Dr. Devin (Smith) Byard



Dr. Devin Byard is a 2007 graduate of Chalker High School and valedictorian of her class. During her time at Chalker High School, she participated in volleyball, cross country, yearbook, and the band as a majorette.  She then earned her Bachelor's Degree at Otterbein University, her Doctorate Degree at The Ohio State University and her Masters Degree at The University of Toledo.   Dr. Byard is a pediatric dentist practicing in Aurora, OH.  

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