Don't expect failure, 'fall forward'


Desiree Morehead

Eighth graders stand as the principal announces that they are officially promoted to high school.

After a day of rain, the skies cleared in time for the Alva Middle School Eighth Grade Promotion Friday evening in the high school auditorium. The eighth grade choir, directed by Kiley Feely, opened the program singing "One Moment in Time." AMS Principal Stephanie Marteney welcomed guests and introduced those on the stage including Superintendent Tim Argo and members of the Alva Board of Education: Jane McDermott, Karen Koehn, Shane Hansen, Larry Parker and Kevin Pingelton.

Marteney then introduced the speaker, Cameron Gaisford, an Alva High School graduate who obtained his bachelors of art degree from Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Gaisford lives in Alva where he helps run the family business, G & G Furniture, having worked there for the last seven years. He is married to Alexis Gaisford, a middle school secretary.

"These next four years will be the fastest four years of your life so buckle up," Gaisford told the eighth graders. He offered several bits of advice, telling them especially to listen to their parents who are their biggest supporters.

Desiree Morehead

Alva alumnus Cameron Gaisford was the special speaker at Alva's eighth grade graduation Friday evening.

Gaisford said when he made plans for his future, he knew he wanted to go into business but was advised to obtain a degree so he'd have something to fall back on. While he did get a degree, he said his approach to life is to fall forward, not backward. He quoted Nelson Mandella, "There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."

As examples, he cited Reggie Jackson who struck out numerous times but is known for his home runs and Thomas Edison who failed at 1,000 experiments but on the 1,001 attempt invented the light bulb. "Find something you are passionate about. Don't fear failure," he advised.

"You have the talent to succeed, but do you have the guts to fail?" he asked the students.

In conclusion, Gaisford said, "When you fall throughout life, remember this: fall forward."

Members of the eighth grade class of 2023 filed across the stage to accept their certificates of promotion as proud parents and family members celebrated.


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