The evening marked what Perdue called the culmination of four years of high school education for each graduating senior. She also stated that the night marked the beginning of new challenges and triumphs for the class of 2009.
Despite the fanfare that had been made for Perdue’s arrival, she reiterated the purpose of the night and that was to honor each graduate as they “embark” on a new life.
“This night isn’t about me or any of the electives,” Perdue said. “This night is about you, the class of 2009.
“You will remember this night forever,” Perdue continued. “You will remember the friends you have made here forever.”
Despite the significance of the occasion, Perdue stressed the challenges that the class of 2009 will face once they enter the full fledged world of adulthood. Perdue stated that the ones who look to immediately join the workforce following high school will face a scarce job market as she explained that the North Carolina unemployment rate is the highest it has been since the beginning of record keeping.
Perdue also applauded the valor of those who chose to pursue a career in the military.
“I applaud your bravery, patriotism, and your love for this country,” she said. “We wish you God speed.”
One central theme that Perdue attempted to drive home to students was the importance of perseverance and learning how to make life’s triumphs outweigh the hard times that the students will certainly face.
“I believe looking back, the one important thing other than faith and family is what I have learned as a coal miner’s daughter and that is to never give up,” she continued. “Perseverance is the key in the 21st century to a happy and productive life.”
Perdue cited her own professional obstacles that she had to overcome to become the first female lieutenant governor and then later governor of North Carolina.
“Those people who never give up at the end of the day are the ones that make a real difference.”
In closing, Perdue stated how the state expects great things from the class of 2009 and stated that by accepting the “golden ticket” that is a high school diploma; they accept both great responsibilities and high expectations.
“When you come up here tonight and accept your diploma you accept tremendous responsibilities because we have tremendous expectations for the class of 2009.”