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John Blodgett

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John Blodgett

The following is the address delivered by Maricopa High School co-valedictorian John Blodgett to the Class of 2017 on graduation night, May 25.


By John Blodgett

Good evening, Class of 2017. If you don’t know who I am, my name is John Blodgett. I would just like to note to the audience out there, that yes, the valedictorian does indeed have to write their own speech (without SparkNotes, I checked). When I asked my mother if I could just wing it, she said, and this is a direct quote mind you, “John, you are my very favorite son and always will be, so please don’t embarrass me.” So, I wrote this for her; and sorry Matt and Alex, there is always second place.

Tonight, is a special night. It is the end of our first chapter, and the beginning of the next one in our book of life. Since I know none of us read these days, it is like we are ending one Snapchat story and beginning the next one. In our time here at MHS, we have laughed, cried, and I’m pretty sure some of you thought going to Dutch [Bros.] was part of the curriculum.

Among us, we have a great number of accomplishments. Many of us competed at the state level in countless sports, multiple bands, orchestra and color guard. Some of us even qualified for nationals in DECA, theatre and Skills USA. On top of that, we even have a couple of state champions. Oh, and did you know we pulled in almost $7 million in scholarships? I mean we didn’t even need to take a 30-minute bus ride to some “better school” to do so! Also, I think we can all agree we are the best-looking class to graduate from MHS, just saying.

We could not have reached these accomplishments, however, without a great deal of support. I would like to thank all of our wonderful teachers who put up with us for four years, the administration for keeping the campus up and running, our school board, bus drivers, counselors, principal, coaches, janitorial staff, cafeteria staff, athletic trainer and, of course, our parents.

Although each of us got here because of our own hard work, I think everyone who supported us along the way deserves a round of applause.

Now, however, those times have come to a close. We will be off in many different directions to do many different things. Personally, I will be flying 2,467 miles away, to the United States Military Academy, better known as West Point.

As Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” So first, shout out to all our mothers for doing step one. The next is a little harder.

During my summer visit to West Point, I determined it was my calling to go there. In four years’ time, I will be commissioned as a United States Army Officer. That is the beginning of my purpose, to protect our country, and support my community. There is no cookie-cutter way to find your purpose in life, though. You must go out and find it.

With that being said, I leave you with a challenge: No matter what your purpose ends up being, go out and make the world a better place. I know you can do it. Everyone in the stands knows you can do it. All that is left is for you to believe you can do it. When you believe in yourself, anything is possible, and I expect some great things to come from Maricopa’s Graduating Class of 2017.

Congratulations to each and every one of you. Good luck, have fun, and Go Army! Beat Navy!

John Blodgett is a co-valedictorian of the Maricopa High School Class of 2017. He will attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

This speech appears in the June issue of InMaricopa courtesy of John Blodgett.

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John Blodgett

Maricopa High School senior John Blodgett has received not one but two appointments to U.S. service academies.

Appointments are prestigious and exclusive. Competition is fierce just to get a nomination, which comes through a member of the U.S. Congress. The service academies then decide the appointments.

In Blodgett’s case, appointments came from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Air Force Academy, presenting him with a rich choice for his future.

Blodgett is a cadet captain in MHS’s Air Force Junior ROTC program. He has been in the program for four years and is commander of the Mission Support Squadron. His instructor said working with Blodgett has been “a treat, a reward.”

“Oh, how refreshing it is to see Maricopa High School AFJROTC cadets that are passionate as well as professional about their role in defense of the United States and their community,” senior aerospace science instructor Lt. Col. Allen Kirksey said.

Nominations involve academic achievement, extracurricular activities, leadership skills, physical aptitude, character and motivation.

“Master Sgt. Dishon Gregory and I have been mentoring Cadet Blodgett for the past year promoting academic

Blodgett has been a leader for the MHS cross country team. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Blodgett has been a leader for the MHS cross country team. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

excellence, leadership development, and officer career exploration and have seen his continuous growth and development,” Kirksey said. “Without a doubt, he is ready now for increased responsibilities as a West Point cadet.  He has learned how to take charge, demand the best of himself, accept responsibility, the importance of teamwork (leadership and followership), the value of diversity, and the ability to make a difference in his life and the lives of others.”

Blodgett has been a member of the cross country and track teams four years, competing in the state cross country meet the past two seasons. He received the RAM Leadership award four times – three in cross country and once in track.

He is a member of the National Honor Society, and this year is the club treasurer. He is a LINK leader, helping to mentor a group of 11 MHS freshmen, and a teacher assistant for the Career, College and Technology class. Blodgett is also a member of the Robotics team.

Kirksey said Blodgett’s “follow me” style of leadership was “nothing short of exceptional.”

After four years of education and training, academy graduates are obligated to serve in the military for five years. An academy enrollment has been valued by the Government Accountability Office at over $350,000.