A high school valedictorian revealed her motivation behind boldly sharing her faith during her graduation speech.
Lydia Owens, 18, who was the valedictorian and president at Woodmont High School in Greenville, South Carolina, for the class of 2023, spoke to Fox News Digital in a recent phone interview about deciding to talk about God after finding out she was “kind of in the running for class valedictorian,” after Christmas.
“I definitely always knew that I wanted to [speak about faith], because my faith is who I am,” she explained. “It’s the center of my life, so I knew that I wanted to mention it, but I didn’t know how to do that.”
While talking with friends, Owens admitted she was “a little worried” about how people would react to her being so open about her faith.
“But I told my friends that I really wanted to talk more about Jesus in my speech,” she added.
Following the support from her friends, Owens said she went home that night and “scratched” the rough draft for the speech.
Lydia Owens recently delivered a speech at the Woodmont High School graduation ceremony, where she was recognized as the school's Valedictorian and Senior Class President. Lydia is the daughter of our Executive Pastor, Brian Owens. So it might not surprise you that she mentioned… pic.twitter.com/MISArwjjPn
— Wayne Bray (@waynebray) June 1, 2023
“And I just sat there and I prayed, and I was like, ‘Jesus, you just speak through me. Let this be exactly what you want to say, not what I want to say,'” she said.
Owens continued, “And I truly believe that’s what he did. I don’t think those were my words — I didn’t come up with that. Jesus told me to write that and I just followed what he told me to do.”
As Owens began her graduation speech, the crowd erupted into applause, which she said she was “not expecting at all.”
“As soon as that happened, I was like, ‘OK, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. God is doing this,'” she noted.
She also mentioned how the crowd encouraged her to “just kept talking.”Advertisement - story continues below
“The second time I mentioned Jesus again, they rushed to their phones [to record the speech], and I was thinking, ‘This is not what I was expecting in the middle of my graduation speech — because of Jesus — in a public place, a public school, in front of thousands of people,'” she shared.
As she continued to speak, Owens realized the outburst of applause was because she “was telling them about Jesus.”
“That was just so encouraging to know that God was moving and he was the reason I kept going through that speech,” she stated.
Owens encourged her the crowd to find their value and satisfaction in Jesus Christ.Advertisement - story continues below
“My worth and your worth is found in Jesus because He is the only one who will ever satisfy us,” she said.
Continuing, she 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 you are still good enough because you are made in the image of God.”
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