New Smyrna Beach High School Valedictorian Ericka Kirkpatrick encourages classmates born in Internet age to grow with it and make a difference in digital world

2011 Cudas graduation

NSBHS Valedictorian Ericka KirkpatrickNSBNews.net video by multimedia editor Sera FrederickClass Valedictorian Ericka Kirkpatrick addresses her classmates at Saturday's graduation at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach. The full text of her address is attached.

DAYTONA BEACH -- Valedictorian Ericka Kirkpatrick reminded her 399 classmates they came into the world two decades ago with the birth of the Internet. With its growth, they too can grow and make a difference in the lives of so many.

"Think about this: Eighteen years ago, we came into this world," she said, "Likewise, the Internet was launched almost 18 years ago."

Kirkpatrick reminded her classmates how the Internet has grown from a small tool for scientific research to a multibillion global entity that helps businesses to thrive and countless other benefits, including helping charities.

Like, the Internet, she said she and her classmates have grown "from saying our ABC's to writing research papers; from counting to 10 to doing math with letters."

Kirkpatrick reminded her classmates that after receiving their diplomas, they will go their separate ways as they make their way in the world.

This is where she stepped up to the plate as their academic leader, saying, "My advice to you, Class of 2011: 'Take every possible opportunity that comes your way. Make a difference in this world in your unique way. Every activity in this world has its effect. Make yours count.' "

Kirkpatrick, who is attending the University of Florida with the goal of becoming a doctor, and was the recipient of thousands of dollars in scholarships, including one for $50,000, told her classmates she's reminded of the old saying that it doesn't matter where you come from, but where you are going.

"The person who grew up disadvantaged and the person who grew up with all of the advantages, are the same person in the academic world," she said of the public education received and how it positions them moving forward.

With the knowledge attained, Kirkpatrick encouraged her classmates to "Gain achievements, accomplish goals and make a difference. Show the love that you believe in yourself, your dreams and your future. With that belief, we can truly make a difference that transforms the world."

And just like that she offered a two-word directive to applause: "Good luck."

NSBNews.net, also known as VolusiaNews.net, provides Volusia County 24 / 7 Internet newspaper coverage, 100% free with breaking news, news of record and investigative reports from New Smyrna Beach, FL, for a 21st-century digital world.

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper serving the Daytona Beach-New Smyrna Beach / Sanford-Orlando metropolitan region via HeadlineSurfer.com, launched in 2008, as Florida's first around-the-clock online newspaper. Frederick is among Florida's most experienced reporters specializing in breaking news & investigative reporting and winner of multiple state, regional & national journalism awards in Florida, New York, Massachusetts & Connecticut. The first of his three books, "Creepy Ass Cracker" (842 pages, Xlibris), hits bookstores this Fall. 
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