Mrs. Phillips assigned senior English IV students a special last project - to write their “Senior Last Lecture,” a presentation based on the bestselling book, "The Last Lecture," by Randy Pausch. The assignment was to focus on what they learned, believe, and want to say to TWCA as they graduate. With the Covid 19 pandemic, Mrs. Philips asked seniors to reflect on what it means to graduate during this historic period in time.
Seniors presented their speeches to family and friends, some in person, and others via Zoom. Below are the "golden nuggets," most meaningful takeaways from their lecture. These messages are powerful, insightful and represent the TWCA Class of 2020.
You never know how much you truly love something or someone until it is gone.
I believe that life is like a roller coaster.
As part of my last lecture my last words are to say “yes” to everything because life is too short to say no or if you choose to say no- say it for yourself and not for anyone else. I know that if I never said yes to any of the help, to joining the football team, or to becoming part of TWCA, I would never have met all these amazing people that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Moreover, my failures showed me I will not be disappointed in myself forever; I just need to turn the page and move on with my life.
I am a helper, which means my ability to help others is endless. I have always put the needs of others before mine.
Some of my peers will fixate on the missing out on prom or even graduation. While others will focus on completing a milestone and moving on to what amazing things lie ahead. Regardless of the categorical stereo types, the Class of 2020 has a huge opportunity. The opportunity to rise above the uncertainty and pessimistic attitudes, and band together with Godly grit and make 2020 the strongest class yet.
You cannot change someone who does not want change for the better. If you are asking them to do it for you, it will not be enough because, they have to want to do it for themselves. One more thing to know is when people hurt you, your revenge is not going to be better than anything God can and will do. Whether they have consequences in life, for eternity, or both, they will not get away with it even if it seems like it to you.
Looking back now, being the ‘new kid’ on the football team, I give all the credit to God for the doors He was able to open, along with thankfulness towards the open arms of my teammates and coaches. This football season ended up teaching me a lot of how to be a man in society.
With the Lord by my side and the strength that He gives me, I can accomplish every goal that I set my mind to, conquer every brick wall I face, and part any sea with His guidance. There are many things that this life has taught me, but none of it would mean anything without God.
Sarah Grace Parker
More than anything, I want to make my parents proud. Since my early days, my parents have always had expectations for me, whether it was with my manners or my academics. Now, my parents expect me to work hard for my college education through basketball. I don’t want to make my parents pay a six-figure number for my college education for just a degree. I want to give them the ability to say, “My son was very smart academically, but he also played college basketball for four years”. If my parents are able to say that about me, I would burst with pride for my family and my family name.
My father is the kind of guy that never puts money in the plate when anyone is looking. He showed me that giving is an experience or a relationship that can be worth remarkably more than a dollar. Success is not money, and that is where everyone gets tripped up. Why cannot success come from how much you have given or how many lives you have changed? A bountiful amount of questions filled my adolescent head.
Over the years what I’ve learned about myself spiritually is that God wants to have a relationship with us, and nothing will come out of your relationship with Christ unless you do your part as well and contribute to it.
I give thanks to God for all of my trials that I have had, without them I wouldn’t have the knowledge or opportunities that I have today.
Isaiah 40:31, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” This verse spoke to my Nona the most, after being cleared from cancer. God tells her that she did it, she had hope, she overcame, and she didn’t fear God’s plan.
You can fold and throw away your life completely when things get hard and sometimes it will seem like the only option. Or you can take what you have the broken unfair life you were given, and you can play your hand to the best of your abilities.
For me, my senior year has been the best year of my life, quite frankly the class of 2020 saved my life. Although I would want nothing more than a normal end to my last year of high school, I am forever grateful for the time I had as a senior and I would not trade it for the world.
We will never get another prom. And the chances of us having graduation are slim. We might never get to walk across a stage as our family watches and cheers for us. We will never have the opportunity to sign each other's yearbooks. We will never get our last goodbyes. However, we will not be defined as the ‘never’ class.
By frustrating me to the point of tears, I made myself vulnerable so that I was able to get help.
Though I love writing conclusions I think Ringo Starr put it best when he said, 'I get by with a little help from my friends.’
Something that I learned when I got my apple technician certification my junior year was to ‘under promise and overdeliver.’ It is always better to set the expectations low and do way better than the customer had expected and that’s what high school did for me. I did not expect much more than a diploma and an education, but high school decided to over deliver.
“I have faith and trust in a Father who will never stop running after me no matter how many times I question everything.
Don’t let others change you.
We all have a vision for ourselves and our future. We owe it to ourselves to not give up on that vision and try to accomplish our goals. It is our responsibility to be strong and remember who we are and have no regrets about things we did not do. We only have one life here on earth.
Make my last lecture your first move… your first move to getting your life on track for success.
As I am getting to go away to college, I am realizing what is important.
I am certainly ready for this next chapter of life, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to let this one go.
After this is all over we will be known for having our year taken by corona and personally, I don’t believe we can do anything about that but what we are able to do is to try to make the best of what we have left of our time ‘together’ before we all leave for our next steps in life.
I am now in a place where I am excited for the future and thankful for every day I get to spend in God’s creation with him on my side, leading me towards the rest of my life.
The truth is that when we choose to believe the devil, we are trusting a lie!...Don’t let pride tell you are too good and more importantly, don’t let the devil tell you that you don’t need help. As God’s creation, we need help. We need God.
Now I realize the outgoing personality was in me all along, I just had to get out of my own way. This quality helps me now and will later benefit the people I meet at UT. I will use my quality of congeniality to make others feel valued and accepted.
I have been blessed by the two most supportive parents who have done nothing but helped me become the best version of myself that I can be. Everyone has to fail or else they won’t succeed. I know that no matter how hard I try, I will still end up failing sometimes and that is okay. I’ve already have been through tough situations, but that doesn’t mean they stop here. If anything, I will get more brick walls.
These tips only serve to eliminate the noise. So that you can focus on what’s sitting in front of you. A chance for you to be a new you, or even find the new you. To discover new people. That’s what the end of my senior year represents for me, and oddly enough it is what the beginning of everything meant too. So, take every moment, and treat it as if it is a new moment. Treat it as if this next change will be something worth writing the lecture of a lifetime about.
It is crazy to think things can turn so unexpectedly. What’s even crazier, is God knew and planned these life changing events for a reason. None of us may know the specific reason, but we must have faith that he has a greater plan.
Strength is not staying quiet about my morals in fear of not being accepted. Strength is not allowing someone to diminish my feelings in order to lift themselves up. Real strength is standing up for myself and caring enough about myself to realize that my feelings are valid. Real strength is forgiving someone who is not sorry and accepting an apology that I never received.
Despite all of my efforts to gain control of everything in my life, God’s plans will always shine through.
As I am getting to go away to college, I am realizing what is important.
I have learned that all my life experiences can be reduced back to God, and as long as I follow and obey his words, I will be successful in anything I do in the future.
Change happens all our lives. From the moment we are born, a change happens in our family unit. Our age changes every year. Our personalities, our bodies, our friendships all change when we go through life. Change can be good, or change can be bad. It’s how we perceive the outcome of the change that helps us grow older and more mature.
When I’m old and gray, I don’t think I’d ever look back and wish I had more possessions. What really sticks with me is memories. You can buy all the material things money can buy, but it won’t truly make you happy. Laughter, time with those you love, and adventure is something that you will always cherish in your heart.
Mary Kate Bennett
High school at The Woodlands Christian Academy is what you make of it; there will be times you will want to quit, but there will be times that you will never want to forget.
He is in control.
“Finding your confidence to navigate life without fear is a choice that has to be made.”
There have been many brick walls in my life. Specifically, being diagnosed with Klippel Trenaunay Weber Syndrome junior year. That was something I was not ready for. It brings many birth defects and was not the easiest thing to hear. This will continue to be a brick wall for the rest of my life. My day to day life looks much different than before my diagnosis and it continues to keep changing as I get older. To deal with this I simply just try and keep a positive attitude. I can help so many people by sharing my story. Because of this, Klippel Trenaunay Weber Syndrome has become a blessing. Through my struggle, I can find victory in the fact that I am able to do everything anyone else is able to do (except for going on airplanes without wrapping my leg and arm or sit in a hot tub). I can help others find their victory in their struggle as well. Whether it be a medical condition or just life. Once again, you can’t control the situation, but you can control how you react to it.
Finally, if you’re scared of dying, don’t be, instead, be scared of not living. Live for Christ in all you do. He did die for us, so we should do our best to honor Him. Life has gone fast, I am scared it is only going to pick up speed.
I learned I shouldn’t be worried about the opinions of people who don’t have my best interest at heart or who don’t even really know me. All those people’s unnecessary noise in my life distracts from the voices of the people who do matter and want me to be successful.
None of us could have imagined having to do online school during the fourth semester of our senior year because of a pandemic. As a result, we should never take the time we have together in person for granted as you never know when those times could be taken away from us.
Selfish love benefits one person, but sacrificial love changes lives.
Walking across a stage again doesn’t define high school. High school is defined by memories, triumph, trials, lesson learned, and relationships. That’s what high school is about.