Hello. Its times like these that make me wish I was a politician, so I could have somebody else write my speech for me.
Today, as the class of 2000 bids farewell to this high school, we face the uncertainty of what is to come in the future. The fact of the matter is that nobody really knows what exactly is in store for us. In fact, most people nowadays do not even attempt to predict what might happen any more than ten years into the future. As we contemplate this, I would like to read several quotes from past "experts" about what mankind couldn't possibly accomplish.

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
--Popular Mechanics, 1949

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
--Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"But what ... is it good for?"
--Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
--Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."
--Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
--David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible."
--A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

"Who the he[ck] wants to hear actors talk?"
--H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."
--Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible."
--Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.

"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this."
--Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3M "Post-It" Notepads.

"Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools."
--1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work.

"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy."
--Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value."
--Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction".
--Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon".
--Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.

"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."
--Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

"Everything that can be invented has been invented."
--Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.

Let's not become as certain as these past experts on how things can and will turn out. Do not let anybody tell you that you do not have the ability to accomplish something. And even more importantly, do not get caught up in the conformity of life. This class, more than any previous, has the ability and opportunity to think "outside of the box." The horizon is open for us. Our class, contrary to popular belief, is the last class of the "old" millennium, but we are the first to delve into the new millennium. We should not be restricted by conforming to popular thought. Does '00 mean we are the class of nothing? Absolutely not! Ever since Kindergarten, we have been marked as a special class, deemed the leaders of the next century. We will have ups and downs, but I believe that we are fully capable of easily fulfilling and surpassing the expectations placed upon us. Let us learn from our own and others' mistakes, and not forget where we have come from.

I was asked by several people to keep this short, I know everyone can't wait to get out of these $15 Hreff Jones garbage bags, so I'll end with this:
They say that knowledge is power, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. So I simply wish to say, let us use our knowledge responsibly, take our place and responsibilities, and we will do just fine in this age that has been left to us, the Information Age.
Class of 2000 rocks!

Floyd County High School Valedictory Address June 4th, 2000. 2000 Aaron Kaluszka. All Rights Reserved.