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Citadel News Service
23 May 2006

Graduation remarks by Senior Class President Josh Skelly

Ed note: [@tb]This is the speech that Cadet Josh Skelly gave at graduation. Part of this address was broadcast on National Public Radio's All Things Considered program on 22 May.[@te]

Josh Skelly
Josh Skelly '06, the senior class president, is a business administration major with an accounting concentration.

Good morning. I would like to thank all of our friends and family who could join us today. Without your love and support we could not have made it. Thank you.

To The Class of 2006:

Our Citadel experience as a class has been very challenging, The Citadel has pushed us to our limits, and then pushed us farther, which made us stronger not only as a class, but as individuals. We have been taught three things in our time here that will prove to be valuable and that will set us apart. Those things are accountability, leadership, and honor.

During our time here at The Citadel, we have learned to be accountable for ourselves and others. Through daily formations, mandatory events, and inspections, we are always faced with the task of being accountable for not only our actions, but the actions of others as well. As knobs we were supposed to know knob knowledge and be shined up at all hours of the day. As upperclassmen, we were held accountable for our squads, platoons, companies, and battalions. If something went wrong, it was our duty to fix the problem or face the punishment, sometimes both. We have been trained to have “no excuses” for our mistakes and to promptly fix our errors.

When it comes down to it, when cadets mess up and get punished, we know we deserved it. We may not be too happy about facing the consequences, but we still take responsibility for our actions. Accountability was one of the most important lessons in leadership The Citadel has taught us.

Leadership is a daily part of life at The Citadel; we live and breathe leadership. As knobs we learned followership, which is just as important as leadership. It gave us a basis to develop our own style as future leaders of the Corps of Cadets and our future careers by observing our sergeants and officers. The Citadel not only taught us how to lead people, it gave us the desire to do so.

We as a class have never been scared to take command. We are not intimidated by the challenge of taking control of a difficult situation, we are excited by it. And if a situation was ever too much for one of us to handle, we knew we would have each other to rely on to help us through it. Our experiences in leadership have brought us closer and taught us how to work together as a team in pursuit of a common goal.

While the leadership opportunities and lessons in accountability are some of the most valuable lessons we will ever learn, what truly brings us together not only as a class, but as Citadel alumni, is our Honor. At first, the honor system was scary, but as each year passed we became more comfortable with the system, until we were no longer afraid of honor because it became a part of who we are. We as a class are now faced with the challenge of taking what we have learned here, and applying those principles to real life situations.

As we begin our careers in the military or civilian professions, these ideals are the things that are going to make us excel in our roles as young leaders and professionals. So as we sit here one last time together as The Citadel Class of 2006, I know that after today, when we’re out in the real world, we can all count on each other and continue to support each other in our everyday lives.

It’s been a long and often strange journey, but the benefits were well worth it. I wish all of you good luck and look forward to seeing you again….God bless the class of 2006.
Achieving excellence in the education and development of principled leaders
Media Contact:
Kim Keelor-Parker
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