Tammy Smith Pattenaude - 2019 Valedictorian

Tammy Smith Pattenaude - 2019 Valedictorian Address
Tammy Smith Pattenaude

Manteno High School announces Tammy Smith Pattenaude as the final valedictorian for the class of 2019.  She plans to study Chemistry at Stoney Brook University in New York City.  This Leadership Academy participant has been on the track team for four years and cross country team for two.  She participated in the Academic Challenge competition earning 2nd place at regionals in the area of Biology.  She is a 2018 Illinois State Scholar, and member of the National Honor Society where she served as secretary for the 2018-2019 school year.  She is the daughter of Tammy Smith and Timothy Pattenaude.


Hello and good afternoon parents, friends, teachers, administrators, and of course, the graduates of 2019.

Throughout my four years in high school I have learned many things, but one of the most important things I was able to pick up on is that while high school teaches you a lot, it does not teach you everything, which is why you must enlist the help of those around you. I realized that while being in high school I never had to face a challenge alone. I never had to navigate this crazy world with no one by my side. Whether it was my family, my friends, or my teachers, I always had someone to call upon to help me when I needed it most.

I would not be standing up here today had it not been for them. I may be the one who is named valedictorian, but they are the ones who worked their hardest behind the scenes, which I why I found it fitting to somehow include them in my speech. I figured if they themselves did not get to speak and share their wisdom today, I would try to at least get their voices heard a little bit by sharing some of their knowledge they shared with me. So, here is some of their advice for the future:

“there will always be someone who can’t see your worth; don’t let it be you. “ Alyssa Brackney.

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing the right.” Victoria Flores.

“Life will have its good and bad moments so it becomes necessary to accept what happens to us and keep moving forward.” Ryan Santoro.

“Be yourself and don’t change for others” Kat.

“Keep being you, babe” Hunter.

“Life’s lit. Don’t quit” KT Bell.

“If it drives, it thrives.” Grace Zeppi.

“Keep your head straight and go for the best you can be” Dad.

And of course some more silly advice like: “get a good job so you can afford Netflix, and If all else fails, marry rich and old.” Chloe Bergmann.

I know I know, that was a lot of information at once, but I hope you were at least able to retain a little bit of that advice.

Some of it you may have already learned on your own, but for others, we all live different lives, and the only way to learn new things is to talk to those who are completely different from you. As we proceed to go on and enter into our next stage of life, whether it be college, the military, trade school, or a gap year, I encourage you to find others who are both alike and different from you. Find people who challenge what you have to say and make you question everything.  It’s those type of people who help you figure out who you are, and that’s what life is really about: figuring out who you are.

I was able to get a glance of who I am and who I will become because of the people I surrounded myself with, so this is my thank you to them. Thank you to Mrs. Morris for pushing my limits in the classroom and inspiring me to do my best, thank you Ms. Younker for going out of your way to be here before and after school and genuinely caring about your students. And of course thank you Mr. Crosby for being my best friend and showing everyone here that points are always taken off. Thank you to my mom, dad, sister, and brother for allowing me to grow up with such inspirational role models. Thank you to everyone I didn’t explicitly name; there wouldn’t be enough time for that sadly. And lastly, thank you to the class of 2019 for letting me share this abundant amount of knowledge with you.

Congratulations and good luck class of 2019!