Casey Li’s Graduation Speech at South



SpeechCasey_071515AI want to start by sharing with you a story my dad told me and my
sister Jenny a few months ago at the dinner table.

It’s about a fisherman.

Every day, he wakes up, catches fish and goes home early. He plays guitar, drinks some beer and then goes to sleep.

One day, a businessman comes
to his village. He sees the fisherman at work and says, “You know what you should do? Make a profit, buy
a few boats and start your own
company. Then, move out of this village into a city and run your expanding business.”

The fisherman replies, “And then what?”

He says, “After about 20 years, you’ll issue an IPO and start making millions of dollars.”

The man says, “OK, then what?”

The businessman replies, “With all your money, you’ll be able to retire to a small village. Then, every day you can wake up, go fishing, drink beer and play guitar.”

Today, it feels like we have our entire lives ahead of us. We’re already thinking about our futures. If we get through college, we might see the world, have nice careers, have kids, get our kids through college and then count down the days until we retire. We may want to make an impact or change the world for the better.

The point of the story isn’t that we shouldn’t work hard and set goals for ourselves. What the story does show, though, is that sometimes the things we spend our entire lives trying to obtain are already right in front of us. We say that if we can just accomplish the next thing, if we can just get into a good college or get a good job—if we can fulfill our next goal, reach the next step, we’ll finally be happy with where we are. But, let’s not waste the time we have trying to finally earn happiness, or success, when we can learn to find it at every step along the way.

Today, we have family members who have come to support and celebrate us. And, if you look to your left and your right you’ll see some of your closest friends by your side. Let’s value our relationships today, and also our high school experiences, the ways in which we’ve grown and the things we’ve already overcome, so that in the time we have, we’re able to cherish and enjoy life to the fullest.

Today is about us. We still have a long way to go, but today we celebrate how far we’ve already come. It’s my honor to say to the Class of 2015—Congratulations!

Thank you.

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