A week before 18-year-old Jake Bailey was to give a speech for the graduating class at Christchurch Boys’ High School in New Zealand – he was diagnosed with cancer. A very aggressive form of cancer – Burkitts non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Bailey is the Student Body President at his school – in New Zealand, it’s referred to as the Senior Monitor.

After three weeks of tests and feeling ill, the doctors advised Bailey not to attend the graduation ceremony. 

Without treatment, doctors gave him only weeks to live. 

Jake Bailey decided to deliver the speech in person. He arrived in a wheelchair and with the inspiration and guidance of Principal Nic Hill and his fellow classmates – he delivered the most amazing speech to the graduating class. 

The 18 minute speech will change the way you look at life. It is a very moving, realistic, and inspirational speech that will in all likelihood require a few tissues.

“None of us get out of life alive, so be gallant, be great, be gracious, and be grateful for the opportunities you have.” 



The Next Leap Forward

What a moving speech. You just know that you’re listening to words that are truly profound, and a young man with incredible character!

“Moral strength is about making a conscious decision to be a person who doesn’t give up when it would be easy to, to be lesser because the journey is less arduous.”

“The future is truly in our hands. Forget about having long-term dreams. Let’s be passionately dedicated to the pursuit of short-term goals. Micro-ambitious,” the high school senior said. “Work with pride on what is in front of us. We don’t know where we might end up. Or when it might end up.”

The speech finished with the school’s motto, “Altiora Peto”, which means I seek higher things”.

A rousing standing ovation ensued, along with the singing of the school song and a spontaneous haka.

P.S. I’d love to sit down with Jake and chat with him – interview him in a way where we can help others succeed. You know… I am asked sometimes by those who know me well enough if I’m taking on too much? When you listen to the words of Jake Bailey and how he describes ‘moral strength’ – how can it ever be ‘too much’?