Every single one of you deserves a beautiful life and Spring Ridge is your opportunity to create that.

About seven months ago, Matt asked me, “What brings life into you?” Nobody had ever asked me this before and I didn’t know how to respond. Before coming to Spring Ridge, I had made a decision to stop living, I walked through my life aimlessly and I struggled to believe that anyone could love me, so I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t love others, in fear that they would leave me. I believed that if I could rid myself of who I was, there would be nothing left to hurt, so I flattened myself out until there was no personality left in me. I trained myself to stop living because I knew that if I never tried, I could never fail. I’m proud to say that 20 months later, that is no longer my motto. In my time at Spring Ridge, I’ve brought the life back into myself and come to love every part of it. I’ve discovered that life is precious, and I’ve found what makes it meaningful to me. I believe that the most valuable change in me is that I’ve learned to love; I’ve learned to love others, I’ve learned to love life and I’ve learned to love myself. I’ve found life in love, in adventure, in learning and sharing my knowledge with others and in pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I am so proud to graduate as someone who has a bright future, a big personality, is excited about life and doesn’t let fear get in the way of my love for myself and others. Thank you so much to my dad, this is the greatest gift you could have ever given me. Thank you for raising our family through strong values and for the endless hard work of raising us on your own. Your generosity continues to inspire me every day. And to my sister, thank you for being my best friend, regardless of what I was going through, you have always been there for me and have never ceased to amaze me with your kindness and wisdom. I am so proud of our family for getting to this place; all supported, all loved, and all happy at the same time. 

I believe that the relationships I’ve formed here are a testament to my growth in allowing myself to love. One of my favorite things about SRA is the people I have met here and all that I have learned from them. I want to thank Sarah, for guiding me on this journey of falling in love with myself; to Kelly, for helping me to bring my personality back to life and helping me realize how much I value honesty; to Matt, for helping me to discover my passions and what makes life meaningful to me; to Angie, for teaching me the value of having empathy for others; to Belle, for your kind spirit and having my best interest at heart; to Justin, for always being there for me whether it was for academic or emotional support; to Stubbe, for always being honest with me and never letting me give up; to Gretch, for helping me to discover what authenticity means to me; to Breanna, for being there for me in whatever way I needed you to be; to Gina, for always finding time for me and love in your heart in the most chaotic moments; to Karen, your unconditional love has inspired me greatly; and to Brandon and Suzie for making this opportunity possible for me. I also want to thank Mr. Derman, Amanda, Michael, Andie, Katie, Lesa, Jordan, Kandice, Amber, Krystal, Emily, Abbie, Sarah, Jen, Teri, Kisha, Jeanine and Susan for your endless support. I think that what you guys do is incredible. Maybe I was a little needy and difficult to deal with at times, but you guys have always treated me like your own daughter, and I will always be grateful for that. And lastly, I want to thank all of my friends here. Every one of you has taught me something extremely valuable and I am so in awe of and proud of the work you guys have put in here. I love you guys so much and I am always here for you. 

To the students at Spring Ridge, you have been given an incredible opportunity. You have the choice to create the life you’ve always wanted for yourself. I spent a lot of time here focusing on what was wrong with the environment around me instead of what felt wrong inside of me. It’s easy to complain about the flaws at Spring Ridge. It’s hard work to dig into yourself. I thought that as soon as I could escape SRA, I would never be met with another problem. However, I quickly learned two things, the first one being that taking the easy way will never help me reach the life that I want and secondly there will be flaws everywhere I go. I’ve learned that the way to deal with this is by working on yourself. It’s hard to be grateful and to feel lucky to be so far from home and so out of touch with reality. Despite that, this is your opportunity for you and your family to create your reality and build your life back up. Every single one of you deserves a beautiful life and Spring Ridge is your opportunity to create that. I will hold this school and everyone I’ve met here close in my heart for the rest of my life. Thank you so much.