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Josh Wolfgram

Class of 2012
Following is Josh's Co-Valedictorian address in June 2012:

Good evening everyone, it is my privilege to speak to you tonight on our future. Unfortunately, I have no idea what that holds for any one of us so I must resort to speaking in the abstract. To keep it interesting, however, I decided I would speak about what I enjoy most: films. Many of you know that I make movies, and in fact I had the privilege of working with the talented Jeremy Herbert this past month. Films are a wonderful form of art, and often times they have valuable lessons to teach us. For this reason, I decided to revisit two of my favorite films and try and apply some of those lessons to us as we leave next year.

The first movie I wish to discuss is probably one of my absolute favorites: Forrest Gump. Released in 1994, it is about the same age as most of us graduates. One line from it has gone down in movie history as memorable: “Life is like a box a chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Nothing more true could be said about our futures. We’re all entering a totally new world next year, something we’ve never experienced before. So much could happen it’s almost scary. Yet I hope after leaving this place that we do have a glimpse at what chocolates we’re going to get. Jeremiah 29:11 says “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” We know God works for the good of those who love Him, and I hope many have seen that through our experiences at Lutheran West. While we might not know what chocolates we’re going to get, we know they’ll all be good in the end.

The next film that I’m going to explore stars one of my favorite actors, Russell Crowe. In A Beautiful Mind, he portrays John Nash- a brilliant mathematician who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. The real Nash was once asked about his disease, and the conversation went something like this. A man asked him how he, a mathematician, could believe that extraterrestrials were sending him messages, something his schizophrenic delusions included. He replied, “Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way my mathematical ideas did. So I took them seriously.” We too are going to be faced with many different voices next year, many of us are already right now.  Most of the wrong ones are going to sound just as real and genuine as the good ones, yet they aren’t the right ones. We have to be discerning and learn to tell apart the voices. It certainly isn’t easy, but it’s a constant everyday effort to overcome. In the film, Nash finally realizes he’s been living in a false reality and begins to work to come back. When asked how he’s able to fight back, he says this: “I’ve gotten used to ignoring them, and as a result, they’ve kind of given up on me. I think that’s what it’s like with all our dreams and nightmares, we’ve got to keep feeding them for them to stay alive.” Our temptations many times come from our own sinful nature, and we have to make decisions next year not to give in. We need to decide now not to place ourselves in those situations, to become susceptible to those weaknesses.  We need to stop feeding our demons.

There is one more lesson, however, and it’s probably the most important of the all. John Nash is really pulled through his affair by his wife, who encourages him to keep trying day after day. In the end, he thanks her for this, saying, “Perhaps it is good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to discover a beautiful heart.” This is the very idea Paul touches on in 2 Corinthians. “If I speak in the tongues of men of angels, but have not love, I am nothing.” If we are the best and the brightest that leave for the real world in 2012, but have not love, we are nothing. Let us never forget as we move around and encounter new faces, to constantly reflect the love that God in Christ has shown us. Let us always remember to be the witnesses we are called to be.

As we leave this place, it is my prayer that we not only remember the lessons we can learn from such inspirational films as those I have mentioned, but that we put into practice those lessons that Lutheran West has taught us for four years. We might not know exactly what our futures hold, but we can take security in knowing that we’re held in God’s hand. Our views and thoughts might come under attack, yet we always have that voice of truth speaking to us and telling us what’s really true. We truly are a blessed group of people, and I hope we continue to share that blessing with others.  I thank you for this opportunity to speak with you, but I gotta be going cause I still wanna catch a couple good movies tonight. Thank you!

Tim Rosenberger

Class of 2012

During Mrs. Miller's Biology class shadowing project, I discovered my interest in medicine. Mrs. Miller helped me secure an internship in the Cleveland Clinic’s top ranked cardiology department.


Lutheran West
3850 Linden Road
Rocky River, Ohio 44116-4099

Phone: 440.333.1660
Fax: 440.333.1729

Acts 3:6-8 I don’t have much, but what I have I give to you:  In the name of Jesus-Walk!  The man jumped up leaping, dancing and praising God!