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Graduation Speech: Perseverance and Determination

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As a hurdler for County High, I stumble upon some pretty tough obstacles each time I race; the same is true in life. Everyone encounters obstacles, but in order to overcome them and succeed, one must never give up.

I love to run hurdles, but unfortunately last year, little pulls and strains prevented me from running to my full potential. One Thursday, we had a home track meet against Lake Stevens. For the first time I was in pretty good shape for my race, the 100-meter hurdles. I began jumping up and down partially to stay warm, and partially to let out some of my excitement. By this time, I had butterflies in my stomach and the adrenaline was pumping. The starter asked us to 'Take your sweats off and stand behind your blocks.' 'Runners take your marks.' Hands shaking, I crouched into the starting blocks. The gun was up. 'Set!' 'Bang!' I bolted out of the blocks. I was way ahead of the other girls when suddenly, I realized I didn't have enough speed to carry me over the next hurdle. Gathering all of the strength I could, I grabbed at the air in hopes of guaranteeing clearance. I had just brushed over the wood when my foot hit the ground and my ankle gave out. I fell. I heard a gasp from the crowd and the other racers' feet pounding past me. I got back up. I had never gone over a hurdle with my right leg first, but I did after that fall. Sprinting as fast as I could in between hurdles, I found myself basically bunny hopping over the rest of them. My goal was to cross that finish line and to be able to say that I did the very best that I could, even if I didn't look very graceful along the way. Although it might have seemed like a bad day, I was proud. It was the first time I had ever fallen in a race, and not only did I get back up and keep running, I managed to place second.

Sometimes you encounter hurdles in life - sometimes you have to adapt and alter your normal routine to clear them. Then there are times you fall; the people surrounding you may gasp - they had been rooting for you. But they haven't given up on you-it's now more than ever that they want you to succeed - it's human nature to want the underdog to come from behind.
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