It’s that time of year again – graduation season! And with it comes a multitude of words of wisdom from commencement speakers. But there’s one valedictorian whose speech has captured the hearts of many and gone viral. Lydia Owens, the valedictorian of Woodmont High School in Piedmont, South Carolina, fearlessly incorporated her faith into her speech, leaving a lasting impact on her classmates.
Like many speeches, Lydia began by sharing a personal hardship she had overcome to get to where she is today. But what set her speech apart was her powerful question: “If you place your identity in what you accomplish, and you believe you are only good enough if you succeed, what happens when you fail? What happens when you don’t have a lot of money or friends?”
Lydia’s journey took a tragic turn when her mother, whom she considered her best friend, passed away two years ago. It was during this devastating loss that Lydia had a “reality check.” She realized that her grades and accomplishments were not what helped her navigate through the pain. It was her unwavering faith in Jesus that provided her with strength and stability during uncertain times.
In an interview with WHNS, Lydia explained that her mother was her biggest inspiration, always encouraging her in her faith. She said, “She’s the reason that I have such a strong faith. She was the example of how to be a Godly woman and how to love people intentionally.”
Losing her mother drastically changed Lydia’s perspective on success. She realized that all the years she spent placing her worth in her academic achievements meant nothing in the grand scheme of eternity. It was a profound realization that resonated with her fellow classmates and touched the hearts of many who watched her speech.
Lydia’s valedictorian speech was far from typical, but it was absolutely captivating. It offered a unique perspective on the meaning of success and the immense pressure we often put on ourselves to succeed. Her speech serves as a reminder that our worth should not be solely tied to our accomplishments, but rather in the relationships we build and the love we share with others.