True happiness and fulfillment can only be found in following God’s will, high school valedictorian Michelle Bauman told her peers at Bishop Machebeuf High School.
The Catholic teen graduated at the top of her class and was selected as one of the 0.5% top high school students in the United States. Bauman writes an occasional youth column for the Catholic News Agency.
Bauman told her peers that she was not able to share with them the keys to success, but could offer the keys to happiness. “Happiness is very different from success,” she said.
She quoted her junior religion teacher, Mr. Lenzini, who repeatedly said: happy = holy = human.
“We will only be truly happy when we are following God's call to live holy lives and being the people that God created us to be. That is the only source of real happiness and fulfillment in life. Success may come as well. Or it may not. But if we have our priorities straight, we won't care, because we will be happy even without worldly success,” she said in her speech.
She offered the examples of Mother Teresa, for whom the world’s understanding of success was not the goal. Mother Teresa explained Christian life as, “God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.” Bauman aslo referrenced Albert Einstein, who said, “Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value.”
“[Mother Teresa] didn't care how the world viewed her. She was so focused on serving God and helping others that everything else became insignificant in comparison,” Bauman said.
“So the best advice that I can give to my fellow classmates is to shoot for the stars, follow your dreams, pave your own path - but always remember that true happiness and fulfillment can only be found in following God's will,” she concluded.