By BRITTANY COLTON
Special to the Sun-Gazette
Once said by Frank Lloyd Wright, an American architect who was known as one of the greatest architects of all time, "I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen."
This quote exemplifies the equation to each and every one of our successes. Though that may be, not everyone thinks of the same type of idea when he or she hears the word devotion. Some people automatically think of religion, while others ponder about work, academics, family and sports, among others.
The irony is that none of those "thoughts" are wrong. Devotion has and will continue to play a role in each of these areas of interest.
All of us sitting up here today fall into a certain one of these categories pertaining to devotion, and it takes a certain amount of dedication and determination for someone to devote his or her life for that one love, that one interest. We must understand that our own personal devotion determines our personal successes and failures. It is all up to us. Through this unremitted devotion to our ultimate aspiration, we will find true success.
First, the idea that one can be devoted to work has been displayed throughout society for many years. Not only this, but also the thought that many courageous women have had an impact on this culture because of their enthusiastic devotion is inspiring.
The character and devotion of Rosa Parks shows exactly this. On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. Parks was arrested for her "audacious" actions, but she proved a point to society. That life-altering experience advanced Parks to make a change. From there on, Parks devoted her life to stopping racial segregation and promoting civil rights. She partnered with Martin Luther King Jr., among other prominent civil rights activists, in order to attain the same rights and equalities among all races. Her devotion to this lifelong feat paid off for her in the end. She was able to witness the various movements and demonstrations that led to integration and equality among all before her death in 2005.
While still alive, Parks stated, "I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people." Parks worked and devoted her life for one cause, the cause being equality among all, and because of her endless devotion, she will be remembered as a person who was concerned about freedom, equality, justice, and prosperity. She had a supreme work ethic that had an impact on our society. In relation to this, 14 students from my class are going to display this same attribute by choosing to join the workforce after high school, meaning that they are willing to make a difference through their devotion to their work, just as Parks did. For those who see devotion closely related to work, this is the model example.
Moreover, I want us to reflect on the achievements made by this year's graduating class, academically, at least. I want to point out that over half of the graduating class will be furthering their education at an institute of higher learning. This means that at least 3/5 of the seniors sitting up here today have displayed a small portion of devotion, at least the commencing stages that will hopefully grow throughout their college years and beyond. This is one of the first stepping stones to their personal successes, and I commend each and every one of you for that. For those who see devotion as an approach to academics, we are the principle example.
On a personal level, the role of devotion has immensely impacted my outlook on life. I know a man who not only devoted his life to his success but to the success of his seven children. It was achieved through the most difficult trial in his life, but through his unfailing commitment, he proved that devoting his life to one cause will bring about success.
Four years ago, my parents separated, and my mother left. Even though it was a heartbreaking situation, especially for my siblings and me, my dad had a critical decision to make, which has significantly changed my life forever.
From that point of misfortune, no matter how difficult and painful for him, my father devoted his life, including every decision and sacrifice, to further assure that each one of his children would become prosperous in every aspect of their lives. He took care of us on his own. He provided all of our needs. He never let us down, nor did he ever let us take the easy road in complicated circumstances.
He never gave up on us even when it seemed that the world around us did, and because of that, he changed my life forever. That is interminable devotion in action. That was his moment of true success. For any parent and child here today, this is how family devotion should be modeled. The bond between parent and child is one of the most imperative relationships that shape one's future. This bond creates a sense of family devotion, and for those who see devotion as a family inspiration, this is the perfect example.
Furthermore, consider the headlines in the recent news. I am talking about the late college basketball coach John Wooden. Wooden spent his life searching for his success through his ultimate love - the game of basketball. He devoted his time, efforts, and expenses to this desired interest.
This full devotion led to his evident success. He found this true success only when he devoted his life to learning and teaching this sport, this sport in which he loved. If one did not know, Wooden changed the history of the NCAA when he led the UCLA Bruins to a record 10 college championships back in the '70s. Wooden himself realized that his loyalty to the sport caused his success when he said, "It isn't what you do, but how you do it."
One cannot achieve success without first devoting everything he has to achieve it; this means that a person must give all or nothing. Success is not aimless, but it is a commitment. For this reason, Wooden was seen around the world as a role model, a figure to look up to, and a truly devoted individual in the world of basketball. For those who think of devotion in an athletic sense, this is the ideal example.
Obviously, I was only able to touch on a few of the numerous devotions one could live for, but I hope it made you ponder the many other possibilities one could devote to. As I conclude, I want to leave you with one final thought. I am not only speaking to my fellow classmates but also to those of you in the audience. Have you found a cause to fight for? Have you found that lifelong devotion that will establish your victory?
As Wright stated in the beginning, the price of success is determinant on how willing you are to devote your life to witness a change. That change is held in your hands, and your personal devotion will stimulate that transformation you wish to see.
Colton was a member of the Class of 2010 at Canton Area High School.