We all want to be the one who scores the winning touchdown at the rivalry football game, sending the stands into an exuberant uproar after a brutal season filled with blood, sweat, and tears.

Champion. We all want to be the one who glides into Homecoming with a handsome man on her arm, ringlet curls falling perfectly across her shoulders, and a sparkling crown resting on her head. Princess. We all want to be the one who stands up to administration for the uselessness of uniforms- thereby filling the school with a new freedom and expression that had been otherwise unknown. Hero.

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We all want to be the one who fights through the exhausting homework, the impossible tests, and the unbearable teacher in order to receive an A+. Soldier. High school is filled with boys and girls who get caught up in the pointless drama and make stupid decisions because we believe that life begins the day we walk across the stage, throw our caps in the air, and accept our diploma. Whether we have a date or not to homecoming, whether we score the winning point at the game, our grade in a class, whether or not we are friends with the head cheerleader or dating the star quarterback take center stage while the true meaning of high school is stuck behind the curtains. In reality, high school is the place where immature boys have the opportunity to become strong, brave men, insecure girls have the chance to transform into confident women, and we all have the tools and the voice to make a difference. High school can be the place where we become the people that we always dreamed of being.

The rest of our lives starts today, not at graduation. We can all be part of something bigger than ourselves- bigger than the cliques, bigger than the drama, and bigger than homecoming- if we give ourselves the chance. We must not only chase after our greatness, but capture it. This is our chance to stand up, and embrace the possibility of becoming great. Some of us are a piece of a new generation with the bravery and audacity to establish a precedent of students ready to make a difference in the world, starting in their own community.

Freshmen. Some of us are a part of the class with a power and newfound confidence to take a stand against the passive, the unmotivated, and the reckless in order to promote a message of true responsibility. Sophomores. Some of us make up the class with the bold curiosity to explore every crevice of the unknown and the unbounded spirit to share our knowledge with all of humanity. Juniors. And the rest of us complete the generation with the leadership and experience to piece together the puzzle of high school and provide the student body with countless opportunities to achieve greatness.

Seniors. Together, we can do the impossible. If we start now- before the ceremony, before the roses, before the cap and gowns, then the true identities of the champion, the princess, the hero, and the soldier will be revealed. Then, we can strive to be someone bigger than the quarterback, bigger than the homecoming queen, bigger than the one who changed school rules, and bigger than the genius. We can all be the ones who lead the school to raise $10,000 dollars to equip an orphanage in Uganda with running water and the tools to succeed.

Champions. We can all be the ones who stand up to the cliques, the vanity, and the rumors in order to teach every girl that she is beautiful and worthy of a crown. Princesses. We can all be the ones who give the scared, the misunderstood, the young, and the underdogs the courage to speak up. Heroes. We can all be the ones who fight against the preconceived notions and rise above victorious in the battle against the alleged insignificance of high school.

Soldiers. We’re all in this together. It’s not about the one person who wins the game, the crown, or the grade. It’s about all of us joining together to raise the standard- carelessness now will not fade away just because we graduate. The beginning of greatness starts in this moment, not the next one.

Who we become now is what will lead us into lives with meaning and purpose, or lives with failure and missed opportunities. Some of us will become a champion of his own kind- one who rises above the challenges of never-ending work and countless bills in order to set an example of responsibly, courage, and determination for his children. We are fathers. Some of us will become a new kind of heroine- one who exudes a strength from within and teaches her family of the immensity of love, one who’s touch never ceases to heal and who’s words always bring wisdom and kindness, even in the face of anger. We are mothers.

Some of us will become the queen of a new territory- she wears a crown of confidence and covers the pages of magazines with curves and freckles- aiming to show the girls of today and the women of tomorrow the role of being beautiful. We are princesses. And some of us have the potential to become true warriors in the battle of life, rising up to conquer the world by proving them wrong- we can win a Nobel Peace Prize, we can start a charity, we can be the one who starts a chain reaction. We are soldiers.