Dear Fellow Competitors,
Five years ago when I was a shy, nervous and awkward twelve year old, doing speech and debate was the most challenging thing I had ever tried. I remember my first few tournaments. I didn't really know anybody and I had no friends there. I would have never dreamed that I would meet my very best friends in the whole world through speech and debate. I had no idea how much you guys would all mean to me. I had no idea that God would use you guys in my life so much. And I had no idea that saying goodbye to you all would be so incredibly hard.
I want to keep this brief or I know I'm going to start crying and I really don't feel like doing that right now. So thank you for the fellowship. Thank you for the crazy conversations we had when we were all tired. Thank you for the respectful arguments. Thank you for the joking around. Thank you for not thinking it was weird if I cried if I was having a hard day. Thank you for smiling at me when we walked past each other in the hallway. Thank you for praying with me outside of my room. Thank you for providing me with an incredible environment to grow in my skills, but also to grow in the Lord. Because of you, I've had the best years of my life. Some of you I got to know very well, others of you I had smaller, shorter interactions, but it doesn't really matter. All of you left an imprint on my life and you've given me so many memories that I'm never going to forget.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for changing my life, for showing me how to smile when I'm disappointed, to find fun and enjoyment even under pressure, for long talks late at night, for words of encouragement you offered and for all of the things that you guys taught me.
I know that you've been told countless times that you are going to make a difference in the world, let me join in and agree. I've seen how dedicated and passionate you are to what you believe in and I am convinced that God is going to use you all to make an impact on the world. You guys give me so much hope.
You are an incredible group of people and I cannot even begin to say how much I am going to miss all of you. Thank you so so so so much for your friendship, your competition, and for all the love and the memories that I'm going to have with me for the rest of my life.
Okay, maybe I am going to cry anyway. I hope you can see how much I mean the "thank-you's" amidst all of the emotional "sappyness" :) But may God bless you all as you continue to serve Him. Thank you for being the crazy, wonderful people that you are.