Lydia Owens, a South Carolina high school student who served as class president and valedictorian, gained widespread attention for her commencement speech in which she shared her Christian beliefs.
The 18-year-old graduate of Woodmont High School in Piedmont, South Carolina, revealed in a recent interview that she learned she was a top contender for class valedictorian shortly after Christmas.
After her senior year first semester, Owen’s secured the valedictorian.
Owens shared that she “debated” about discussing her faith in her speech, saying she always knew she wanted to discuss her faith because faith is “the center of my life” but “didn’t know how to do that.”
Owens only spoke up after discussing the matter with her friends.
The 18-year-old revealed that she was “a little worried” about the response to discussing her faith but “really wanted to talk more about Jesus in my speech.”
Her friends encouraged her, telling her it was necessary to be “bold” in her faith, highlighting that there might not be “another opportunity to speak in front of thousands of people.”
She described that her friends’ words impacted her, prompting her to pray that “Jesus… speak through [her],” adding that “Jesus told [her] to write that,” and she “just followed what He told [her] to do.
In her speech to her classmates, Owens said, “No matter what your future holds, please remember that life is so much more than how successful you are,” adding that irrespective of their accomplishments, they “are still valuable and still good enough” as they’re “made in the image of God.”
Owens also alleviated her fellow graduates’ fears, telling them not 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.”