‘Your Worth Is Found in Jesus’: Valedictorian Delivers Powerful Graduation Speech

In a powerful graduation address that has since gone viral, Lydia Owens, the valedictorian of Woodmont High School in South Carolina, urged her classmates to define their worth and identity in Jesus, rather than their worldly achievements.

inspirational graduation speech lydia owens

Lydia Owens is a beacon of scholastic excellence, having earned the top spot in her class through hard work and commitment. However, an unexpected personal tragedy transformed her perspective on life, success, and what truly holds value.

As she took the stage to deliver her valedictory speech, Lydia invited her fellow graduates to question the parameters of success. “The accomplishments of your lifetime do hold value, but remember, they don’t define you. You are much more than your achievements. What if you don’t succeed? What happens then?” she asked her peers, emphasizing the transient nature of worldly accomplishments.

Lydia learned this profound lesson at the tender age of 16, when she lost her mother. Until then, she had devoted her life to achieving “perfect” grades, placing her value in her academic successes. “To me, success meant being perfect,” she confessed. Yet, her mother’s untimely death shook her world, causing her to reevaluate what mattered most. Her once-prized grades seemed trivial in the face of such immense loss.

“When my life was upended by this tragedy, it was neither my grades nor my accomplishments that helped me navigate through that loss. When everything else in my life felt uncertain, the only one I could depend on to stay the same was Jesus,” Lydia candidly expressed, receiving a heartfelt applause from the audience.

During this intensely challenging time, her faith grew and reshaped her understanding of true value. “I realized the many years that I spent placing my worth in my academics meant absolutely nothing in light of eternity,” she confessed, adding, “My worth — and your worth — is found in Jesus because He is the only one who will ever satisfy us.”

Sharing this powerful truth, she reassured her classmates, “Even if you accomplish all of your dreams or none of them at all, you are still valuable. And you are still good enough because you are made in the image of God… You don’t have to worry about whether or not you will be successful. Because God promises that His grace is sufficient for us and that His power is made perfect in our weaknesses.”

The empowering words of Lydia’s graduation speech not only touched the hearts of her classmates but also resonated with millions across the globe. Yet, in the midst of all the praise and recognition, this humble young woman continues to redirect the spotlight towards God.

“I don’t want anyone to say ‘Wow Lydia, you did a great job.’ Yes, I said the words but that was God speaking through me,” she explained.

During the interview, Lydia acknowledged her mother’s crucial role in nurturing her faith. “She always pushed me to be my best self and always encouraged me in my faith… She’s the reason that I have such a strong faith. She was the example of how to be a Godly woman and how to love people intentionally.”

As Lydia prepares to major in elementary education at Anderson University in South Carolina this fall, her powerful message continues to reverberate: look to Jesus for our worth and identity.

Lydia Owens reminds us all of the profound truth: our worth lies not in our earthly achievements, but in being loved and valued by God.

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