Home Christian News Valedictorian Goes Viral After Boldly Delivering Gospel Message in Graduation Speech

Valedictorian Goes Viral After Boldly Delivering Gospel Message in Graduation Speech

Lydia Owens speech
Screengrab via Twitter @waynebray

Lydia Owens, valedictorian of Woodmont High School in Piedmont, South Carolina, surprisingly and boldly shared the gospel as she addressed her fellow graduating seniors.

Owens “clearly communicated that Jesus alone determines value, defines success, provides real satisfaction, and gives us hope when everything around us falls apart,” shared Pastor Wayne Bray. “She unashamedly made much of her Savior.”

“Yes, tragedy struck Lydia’s life, and its impact was great. But she is a living example that God’s grace is greater!” As a pastor’s kid, it may not be a surprise that Owens included Jesus in her speech, but “this young lady took it to the next level,” shared Bray.

Valedictorian Speech Includes the Gospel Message

Owens began her speech by addressing the crowd and welcoming them. She then went on to confess her own temptations with perfectionism and a high focus on achievements.

But, the valedictorian proclaimed, “You are so much more than how well you perform.”

“If you place your identity in what you accomplish, and you believe you are only good enough if you succeed, what happens when you fail?” Owens proposed in her speech. “What happens when you don’t have a lot of money or you don’t have a lot of friends?”

Owens continued, “Placing your identity in the things of this world will disappoint you, because they are only temporary.”

“I had that reality check almost two years ago when my mom passed away,” she shared. “When tragedy struck my life, it was not my grades or my accomplishments that helped me navigate through that loss.”

The valedictorian spoke of the hope she had experienced, saying, “When everything else in my life felt uncertain the only person that I could depend on to stay the same was Jesus.”

The crowd erupted with applause.

Owens shared, “My perspective of success drastically changed, because I realized the many years I spent placing my worth in my academics meant absolutely nothing in eternity.”

“Speaking from my experience, constantly striving to be perfect has never satisfied me,” she said. “But what does satisfy me is knowing that my worth is not found in my successes or my failures.”

“My worth—and your worth—is found in Jesus because he is the only one who will ever satisfy us.” Owens said.

“No matter what your future holds, please remember that life is so much more than how successful you are. Even if you accomplish all of your dreams or none of them at all, you are still valuable and still good enough, because you are made in the image of God,” Owens concluded, “You don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll be successful because God promises that his grace is sufficient for us and his power is made perfect in our weakness.”

One person commented after she watched the graduation. “I was in attendance & was blown away at her boldness in truth. I was admittedly surprised, but also thrilled she was permitted to have all of it in her speech,” she said. “When she started talking about however you define success will leave you empty, I thought – go girl. Overheard: ‘preach.'”