Abhimanyu Wolf was the valedictorian of the 2011 graduating class of Santa Fe High School, in Alachua County, Florida. Below is the transcript of his valedictorian speech delivered at the commencement program on June 4, 2011, at the University of Florida Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
by Dhira Govinda das
Abhimanyu Wolf was the valedictorian of the 2011 graduating class of Santa Fe High School, in Alachua County, Florida. Below is the transcript of his valedictorian speech delivered at the commencement program on June 4, 2011, at the University of Florida Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Several thousand people attended the event and heard Abhimanyu speak about Srila Prabhupada and the vital importance of spiritual inquiry. After the speech, I and several others heard from many attendees, some connected with the devotee community and some not, how moved they were by the talk.
Santa Fe High School valedictorian speech given by Abhimanyu Wolf: “Henry Ford once said, ‘Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.’ We have a natural tendency to focus on the obstacles between us and our goals, but when we fix our consciousness on the goal itself, the obstacles practically fade away.”
“A perfect example of this is a spiritual leader named Srila Prabhupada. He came to America at the advanced age of 69 with just seven dollars to his name and the intention to start a spiritual movement. Despite all odds, he was successful in making his dream a reality. It’s not a safe proposition to depend on the external circumstances in our lives to be desirable, because this world just doesn’t always follow our plans. There will always be a new set of so-called ‘obstacles’ and ‘inconveniences’ in between us and our goals. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to take full responsibility for our experience, while still acknowledging that there will always be things that are beyond our control.”
“Thanks to our peers, parents, teachers, mentors, all the staff at Santa Fe High, and all the people who have helped build the society we live in today, we have excellent tools to forge ahead to achieve our goals and really make the best of our precious lives. Each one of us has immense potential, and to waste it, to let each day pass without inquiring about who we are, what is our purpose, and how can we best serve mankind, is the worst kind of violence.”
“I would like to congratulate my fellow graduates of the class of 2011 on their great achievements and give thanks to my parents, sister, close friends, and spiritual teachers who have shined a light on the purpose of my life. Hare Krishna.”