Brutally Honest Valedictorian Regrets Being Top of the Class (2024)


On May 30th, 2019, Kyle Martin (Tre in TKA's The Wreck of Echo 10-4: addressed The King's Academy's Class of 2019 as its valedictorian. His speech was entitled "The 16th Second." Kyle has attended The King’s Academy for 14 years and is graduating with a 4.64 GPA, earning him the top ranking in the class.

He is a senior superlative in the areas of Bible, English, musical theatre, social studies, and vocal music. Kyle is the President of the English and Social Studies National Honor Societies, Vice President of the Spanish National Honor Society, Treasurer of the Mathematics National Honor Society, and is a member of the National Honor Society and the Science and Tri-M Music National Honor Societies. He served as Class President for five years and is a member of Key Club. Kyle has been an important contributor to the TKA Theatre Company, appearing as a lead in 21 main stage and black box productions, most recently as Jack Kelly in Newsies.

Kyle will attend Palm Beach Atlantic University where he received the Farish Scholarship, a full four-year scholarship valued at $170,000—awarded to two incoming freshmen each year. Kyle plans to study political science and Spanish. (FAQ: Kyle can be contacted at

More information about The King's Academy is available at

Copyright, The King's Academy, Inc., 2019. All rights reserved.


Good evening on behalf of the senior class I would like to thank all the people who make the kings academy, excellent to the board of governors for the wisdom.

You bring the prayers that you pray.

And the vision you lay out for tka.


Thank you.

The administration for the godly oversight, you bring to the school and for making the tough calls when needed we.

Thank you to the faculty who give your all each and every day laboring to provide us with a tremendous education and pushing us to do our best even on the days that we don't want to learn all the while taking the extra time to build relationships with us that for some will last a lifetime.


Thank you to the staff who work tirelessly coordinating our lives and our events while supporting us.

And the faculty we.

Thank you to the kings academy maintenance department who keep our campus running efficiently and create a beautiful place for us to come and learn every day we.

Thank you to each member of each family represented in the senior class, whose support sacrifice and dedication has not been overlooked.


Thank you, especially the parents, and the guardians who have paid for and who have supported us throughout our education.

We thank you.

And we love you.

I stand before you tonight as the 2019 valedictorian this time last year I found out that I was in the running for this title.

It was then that I decided I wanted it.

So I worked hard for it.

I sacrificed for it and yes, I stressed for it, and I got it.

And at our senior awards, ceremony, it felt so good when I heard my name announced with this title, that's so good for about 15 seconds, yeah, 15 seconds of my heart racing, and my adrenaline, pumping 15 seconds.

So, yeah, I won 15 seconds of being at the top of the pile of all my accomplishments, and it felt euphoric, but there must come a 16th second.

And on that 16th.

Second sat down on my seat.

I looked at my silver stole that says valedictorian, and I thought that's it.

What just happened? Why why am I not feeling anything else to be honest? I don't even know what I was expecting a parade of balloons to drop, or maybe I was hoping that all of my problems would fade away in comparison to this amazing achievement, but none of that happened, not even in my heart.

I felt nothing.

I was shocked.

This was a huge problem for me, and I needed to figure out why.

So here was my thought process working hard is good.

It is in fact biblical, but it should not be done for the sole purpose of a goal sake at the expense of relationship with others looking back on this year.

I realized that the stress of this year for this goal in a five-minute speech was paid for with the lack of attending to relationships in my life.

A lesson learned and self-reflection accomplished.

Now I would like you my fellow classmates to do some self-reflecting.

I would like you to take a moment to fill in a different thing that you strive for.

And you focused on something that you thought was the end-all be-all, perhaps it was sports.

Perhaps it was fine arts academics, getting into a particular school, an unhealthy social life.

Social media or video games, friends, we are about to launch into life, and we haven't messed anything up yet.

Now think instead of academics, taking your focus off your important relationships.

It was your career.

You chose over your spouse.

Instead of sports it's money that you pursue at the detriment of your children.

Instead of just the instagram-worthy picture, it's, striving to be famous at the expense of time with your friends because now you're too self-involved I'm well aware that this is kind of a downer speech, but I don't care because a lesson learned should be a lesson shared now I'm glad that I have only made this mistake of striving for something that is in the light of eternity not important for just one year.

I can't imagine if I had learned this at 50, or at the end of my life here's, the lesson have no regrets in the 16th.

Second, nothing is more important than your healthy relationships.

Nothing, not your goals, not your successes and here's.

Why relationships are where we get to influence impact and change people's lives.

Your life cannot be meaningful without them.

And we are put on this earth by our creator, and we all have a purpose to advance god's kingdom that all may be saved now how we all go about that that's, what's different it's different in what college we choose who we marry and what career we choose it's different in the triumphs and tragedies that come upon us.

But in all those things new relationships are being formed as you live your life on this earth, there is no greater good than you can do for a person than to love them so much that you point them to jesus christ.

But first he should be your first relationship that you cannot neglect.

And I want you to know I have been here at tka for 14 years, and I love this school, and I love all of you my classmates.

And tonight I am imploring you if you have not begun that personal relationship with jesus christ, just do it.

There is no better way to start something new and close and chapter of your life than with him.

If he is your lord and savior, then make sure you care for that relationship above all others.

And after that prioritize, what is important in your life and never never lose focus of your important relationships.

So be generous with your time and money.

And a lot of relational issues will be resolved.

And by the way, it's, not too late to mend fractured relationships, any friends you haven't spoken to in a while because of your pride, parents whom you disrespected and teachers who you never thanked just do it.

Humble yourself start a conversation have no regrets in the 16th.

Second in conclusion, this has been one of the hundreds of life lessons I have learned at the kings academy, and that has been more valuable than academics.

So thank you to all who have taken the time to teach each of us our lessons.

And once again, thank you to our parents who have been the main source of our lesson learning we did it you and us.

And we love you for your sacrifice to put us at kings and for putting up with our attitudes along the way.

Thank you for sticking with us when we receive our diploma tonight, just know we all have earned it.


Brutally Honest Valedictorian Regrets Being Top of the Class (2024)


Can you decline valedictorian? ›

Yes, a speech is typically required of the valedictorian. If you refuse, the honor may even be awarded to someone else.

What is the best closing for a valedictorian speech? ›

Closing: So, to my fellow graduates and everyone who has come here to support us, let us celebrate our accomplishments, cherish the small moments, and look forward to a bright future. Thank you, and congratulations to the graduating class of [Year].

When did Kyle Martin give his valedictorian speech? ›

Learn English with Kyle Martin's Speech. The 16th Second is a valedictorian speech given by Kyle Martin at The King's Academy's Class of 2019 graduation ceremony. In his speech, Martin reflects on his pursuit of the valedictorian title and the lack of fulfillment he felt upon achieving it.

What is the name of the valedictorian speech? ›

The valedictory address, also known as the valediction, is generally considered a final farewell to classmates, before they disperse to pursue their individual paths after graduating.

Do colleges care if you are valedictorian? ›

Being named valedictorian or salutatorian does not factor into college admissions, because these honors are not determined until the end of your senior year of high school.

Is being valedictorian a big deal? ›

Along with acknowledging academic success, being the valedictorian of your class also opens opportunities. Many colleges award those given the title of valedictorian with scholarships and even if someone is not planning on attending college, the title will still look good on a resume.

What is a powerful closing statement in speech? ›

Close with an inspirational quotation.

Find a short quote that captures the feeling you want the audience to have. Set it up with a transitional sentence that introduces the quote and its relevance to the audience, something like, “The author Marianne Williamson said it best when she wrote…”

How long is the average valedictorian speech? ›

A valedictorian speech should be from 5 to 10 minutes long but also check with your school administrators to find out what length they expect. Shorter is usually better.

How long should a valedictory speech last? ›

With that in mind, the key to a great valedictory speech is to keep it simple, short (ten minutes is perfect), mention lots of people by name, tell stories, and practice it so much that you don't have to read it. You want to deliver it like you're having an animated chat with a close friend.

Was MLK a valedictorian? ›

In his third and final year, Dr. King was valedictorian with straight A's (from

How is valedictorian chosen? ›

Valedictorian is the academic title conferred upon the highest ranked student among those graduating from an educational institution, typically based upon the highest grade point average.

What does have no regrets in the 16th second mean? ›

“Have no regrets in the 16th Second” – is the title of the speech Kyle Martin gave at The King's Academy's graduation ceremony. He explains that he regrets graduating top of his class because while for 15 seconds it felt really good being named Valedictorian, on the 16th second he thought, “That's it?!”

Can there be 2 valedictorians? ›

New Trend: More Than One Valedictorian

As a result, more high schools are choosing multiple valedictorians in order to highlight the accomplishments and dedication of multiple students. At some schools, in fact, over dozens of students qualify for the honor.

What not to do in a graduation speech? ›

Stay away from jokes: Yes jokes can be fun but it is hard to draw the line from being fun to being unprofessional. Your safest bet will be to keep the jokes aside. Avoid negativity: You should avoid negativity at all costs. Your impression makes a big impact; it should always be a positive one.

What are the top 3 graduates called? ›

Generally, the highest honor in college is the valedictorian, followed by the salutatorian. As a group, the highest honor is summa cum laude. The next highest is the magna cum laude, and the third is the cum laude.

What GPA do most valedictorians have? ›

The title of valedictorian is used to distinguish indivduals who have achieved the highest level of academic excellence. Students who earn an unweighted 4.0 GPA, through the seventh semester of high school, will receive valedictorian designation.

Do valedictorians do well in life? ›

“There is little debate that high school success predicted college success. Nearly 90 percent [of valedictorians followed in one study] are now in professional careers with 40 percent in the highest tier jobs. They are reliable, consistent, and well-adjusted, and by all measures the majority have good lives.

Do Ivy Leagues reject valedictorians? ›

The admission rate for Stanford University and Princeton University hovers around 5%. It is not uncommon for a valedictorian to be rejected by prestigious schools. The valedictorian and their parents are always shocked when this occurs.

What is the average IQ of a valedictorian? ›

The top (highest grade) students usually have IQs in the 120–130 range. A student with a 110–15 IQ is perfectly capable of a 4.0 GPA in many disciplines. IQ doesn't matter much until graduate school (or even until post-doctoral level) Valedictorians get results by hard work - not high IQs.

How hard is it to get valedictorian? ›

To be the valedictorian, you have to get As in the hardest classes at your school pretty much every time. Are you up for the challenge? Take AP classes over honors classes when you can, if they are worth more points. Your electives can really hurt your weighted GPA because they tend to be considered regular classes.

Why do people want to be valedictorian? ›

It opens college opportunity.

Being a valedictorian opens opportunities. Colleges award scholarships to those with that title. Selective colleges look for those who excelled academically and it's a fact that the high school GPA does indeed matter in the admissions process.

What are examples of good closing remarks? ›

Sample closing remarks for an event
  • We hope you enjoyed attending our event as much as we enjoyed putting it together. ...
  • Thank you for coming to our get-together. ...
  • We have come a long way since the last time we were all together. ...
  • Before we all head out, I would like to thank everyone who showed up tonight.
May 9, 2023

How do you end a speech without saying thank you? ›

Different Ways to End a Presentation or Speech
  1. The power of three. ...
  2. A compelling story. ...
  3. A surprising fact. ...
  4. A running clock. ...
  5. Acknowledging people or companies. ...
  6. A short, memorable sentence. ...
  7. An interesting quote. ...
  8. A visual image.
Nov 6, 2017

What is an example of a strong closing statement? ›

Direct closing statement

Include an offer to answer any concerns or questions they have that might influence their decision. Example: "Thank you for meeting with me today. Based on our conversation, I am confident that my proven sales record and experience would make me a strong asset to your team.

Who to thank in a valedictorian speech? ›

“Thank you [person who introduced you]. And thank you to the students, teachers, parents, and staff who made these four years everything that they were.” “It's my honor today to deliver the commencement address for this incredible student body.”

Does the valedictorian speak first? ›

The college guidance resource Transizion says the salutatorian is usually the individual ranked second in the graduating class. A salutatorian will deliver the salutation, otherwise known as the opening speech of the graduation ceremony. The valedictorian speaks later in the program.

Does class valedictorian include all four years? ›

Yes, the valedictorian title is based on all four years.

That means if you had high achievements as a sophomore, but fell behind as a senior, both of those performances will have an equal impact on your ability to earn valedictorian. Keep in mind that honors classes, AP classes, and summer classes can also play a role.

How many words should a high school valedictorian speech be? ›

Your valedictorian speech should max out at about 750 words. And shorter is better. By now, you're sure to have written lots of papers longer than that.

Which grades did MLK skip? ›

Martin Luther King, Jr. skipped both grades nine and twelve.

Why did MLK skip two grades? ›

He left high school at 15, having been awarded a scholarship to Morehouse before he finished what was supposed to be his junior year in high school. Prior to that, he had been permitted to skip the 9th grade. So technically he skipped three grades.

What GPA do you need to be valedictorian in college? ›

Valedictorians. Valedictorians are determined by their Indexed GPA. All seniors with a final Indexed GPA of 4.65 and higher will be honored as a Valedictorian upon graduation.

What is the average GPA for a valedictorian? ›

A valedictorian is simply a student with the highest overall grade point average in their graduating class. Most valedictorians obtain an unweighted GPA of at least 3.9/4.0 as they tend to have an A-average throughout their education career, whether it's high school or college.

What are the four regrets? ›

I came up with four core regrets; foundation regret, boldness regret, moral regret, and connection regret from the survey. I got to these after categorising regrets and then realising there was something deeper going on.

What does the Bible say about past regrets? ›

Regret can draw us to salvation. Paul tells us that “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10) and that it is God's kindness that brings us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Looking back at failures or missed opportunities should make us feel a sense of loss.

How do I not live a life full of regrets? ›

How do I live life with no regrets?
  1. Reflect on your experiences. ...
  2. Take ownership of your life. ...
  3. Become more self-aware. ...
  4. Think for yourself. ...
  5. Let go of the past. ...
  6. Forgive. ...
  7. Do what you love. ...
  8. Discover your purpose.
Jun 16, 2022

How many valedictorians get rejected from Harvard? ›

If you're a high-school valedictorian applying to Harvard, you have only a 25 percent chance of being admitted. Admission is denied to 75 percent of the high-school valedictorians who apply to Harvard every year.

What school has the most valedictorians? ›

BELLAIRE, Texas – One Houston Independent School District high school is making history in June. Bellaire High School's Class of 2021 will have a record-breaking nine valedictorians crossing the stage this year. The students, Alkiviades Boukas, Daniel Chen, Evie T.

Do valedictorians get money? ›

While the scholarship award for valedictorians varies from school to school, the award can be a significant amount of money. Some valedictorian scholarships will often be awarded as an academic or leadership-based award rather than a financial aid award.

Is it rude to not go to graduation? ›

Do I Need to Attend My Graduation Ceremony? In a word, no — there are no academic repercussions to skipping commencement. There is also no requirement to be physically present at graduation in order to officially earn your degree.

Why is graduation so nervous? ›

Nervousness About a Big Transition. Graduating from high school can be stressful. The uncertainties and expectations that the transition brings can cause excessive worries and fears that disrupt your life. Experiencing “transition nerves,” or stress and worry caused by this major life change, is extremely common.

Is valedictorian a big deal? ›

The title of valedictorian is given to the highest academic achiever in the graduating class. Schools often recognize hard-working athletes, so they should recognize diligent intellectuals as well.

Is top 40 percent of class good? ›

If you want to attend a more competitive college, you should aim to have a class rank that puts you in the top 25% of your class, or the 75th or higher percentile. For Ivy League and other top tier schools, a class rank in the top 10% or 5% is a good goal to aim for.

How do you know if you are in the top 10 percent of your class? ›

Schools calculate a student's class rank by taking their GPA and assessing it in relation to individuals from the same graduating class. If your grade has 100 students, and your GPA is better than 90 of them, then you are ranked number 10 and you're in the top 10 percent of your graduating class.

Can you get into an Ivy League without being valedictorian? ›

1. Grades for Ivy League Schools. No, your child does not need to be valedictorian or receive a perfect 4.0 GPA or 1600 on their SAT for admission into Ivy League colleges. However, numbers-wise, grades should be up there.

What is the lowest GPA for a valedictorian? ›

The trend is to award the title of “valedictorian” to any student who has amassed a 4.0 GPA.

How many valedictorians does Harvard reject? ›

If you're a high-school valedictorian applying to Harvard, you have only a 25 percent chance of being admitted. Admission is denied to 75 percent of the high-school valedictorians who apply to Harvard every year.

What is the minimum GPA for valedictorian? ›

Students who earn an unweighted 4.0 GPA, through the seventh semester of high school, will receive valedictorian designation.

Why do top students get rejected? ›

Failure to meet high GPA or test score standards. Insufficient academic rigor. Lack of demonstrated interest. Application essay errors.

How hard is it to become a valedictorian? ›

To become a valedictorian, a student must maintain a high GPA throughout their high school career. It requires a lot of effort, discipline, and focus to perform at the top of their class consistently.

What is the easiest Ivy League school to get into? ›

Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate. While it's easier, statistically speaking, to get into Cornell, it's still challenging. It's also important to remember that students apply directly to one of Cornell's eight undergraduate colleges.

How are valedictorians picked? ›

Valedictorian is the academic title conferred upon the highest ranked student among those graduating from an educational institution, typically based upon the highest grade point average. Salutatorian is the academic title conferred upon the second highest ranking student in the class.

Can 2 students be valedictorian? ›

The valedictorian is the student who graduates with the highest GPA in the grade level. In the case of a tie, some schools name multiple valedictorians.

Why valedictorians don t succeed? ›

Valedictorians aren't likely to be the future's visionaries,” says Arnold. “They typically settle into the system instead of shaking it up.” Many valedictorians themselves believe that they weren't the smartest student in their class but rather simply the hardest worker.

What happens to most valedictorians? ›

“There is little debate that high school success predicted college success. Nearly 90 percent [of valedictorians followed in one study] are now in professional careers with 40 percent in the highest tier jobs. They are reliable, consistent, and well-adjusted, and by all measures the majority have good lives.

Is valedictorian based on grades alone? ›

The Valedictorian ranks first in scholarship and is considered the top student of his/her class; the salutatorian ranks second in scholarship and is considered the second highest student in his/her class. Criteria are based primarily on cumulative GPA, but the number of Advanced Placement classes and number of earned ...

Does class rank determine valedictorian? ›

Yes, the valedictorian title is based on your class rank, which in turn, is determined by your GPA. This distinction is given to the class's top achiever and accounts for everything from GPA to participation in advanced programs, to attendance.

How many AP classes do valedictorians take? ›

Additionally, starting with the class of 2027, students must take at least six advanced placement, dual enrollment or early college classes to be considered for valedictorian status.

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