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. Florida's first around-the-clock newspaper was launched April 7, 2008, in New Smyrna Beach, initially as NSBNews.net and VolusiaNews.net. Headline Surfer is a registered trademark of NSB News LLC. Headline Surfer® Publisher Henry Frederick, is recognized as one of Florida's top award-winning cops & courts reporters, who has received more awards for such coverage than any other reporter working in Central Florida. He's the top journalist in the Florida Press Club two years running with seven journalism awards for 15 breaking news and investigative stories, three blogs and top internet site. He's the only reporter to win awards for coverage of the Trayvon Martin slaying as well as the subsequent George Zimmerman murder trial acquittal in Sanford. He's also won state, regional and national journalism awards for his coverage of cops and courts fear 8 1/2 years at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, where he witnessed and reported on the execution of serial killer Aileen Wuornos and covered the civil trial brought by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt's widow to keep his autopsy files sealed. Before that before he covered cops & courts for Gannett Suburban Newspapers / The Journal News in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York, where he won a highly-coveted Associated Press Award for breaking news. Before launching the 24/7 internet newspaper in 2008, he was an award-winning city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette, in his native Massachusetts for two years, winning a national investigative award on municipal corruption. The first of Frederick's three books, for which he has secured publishing rights, is called "Creepy Ass Cracker" (840 pages, Xlibris), which will hit bookstores in September. His second book, "Wrestling ReWind," is expected to be published in January 2015. The third book is not yet titled.
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