7/15/2018 1 Comment
My Valedictorian Speech
Sooooo, a lot of you aren't going to understand the jokes in this speech... but I though might as well put it up here anyway as a way to ease back into things.
Thanks for reading!
Good evening, students, faculty, family, and friends. First, I just wanted to give a quick thank you to everyone here and to everyone who made it possible for all of us to be here. Our parents, for their never-ending sacrifices even if they go unacknowledged. Our teachers, for their persistence in teaching us not only facts and knowledge, but those oh-so-elusive life skills (and to never invade Russia in the winter). And our friends, for being by our side when it mattered most. And so, it is with great honor that I stand before you today, ready to wish us all well as we step into the real world, as high school graduates.
But before that, let me summarize these 4 years in a way that only Academy kids will understand: Hello my sweet friends, these past years were wholly amazing, toooo good, so powerful, and not at all bobo.
But all jokes aside, these 4 years were irreplaceable, starting from way back when in August of 2014 when a ragtag bunch of kids from the corners of the county were thrust together in an undersized gymnasium and forced to play icebreaker games that no one really understood the rules to. But it was that first day of orientation, when we were all bright-eyed freshmen without a care in the world, when I realized this was it. This group of people will define the next 4 years of my life. And I am so incredibly happy it was you guys.
But it took us all a while to get the hang of things and to become the Academy Class of 2018 that we are today. From the “fierce” rivalry between 9-1 and 9-2 that I still have no recollection of to the mysterious Alan to learning everything there is to know about diabetes to losing people (or I should say, one person) on our field trip to suffering through 2 hours and 15 minutes of brutal lab days in freshman year.
As our classes mixed in sophomore year and our friend groups expanded, we all bonded over selling houses as part of a very relevant project, parading around in recyclable materials, making memes to illustrate the contentious history of this nation, and reading about Surviving the Extremes (yup, you’d almost forgotten about that one, hadn’t you?).
And oh, junior year, the year where we forgot what it meant to have a social life and instead receded into the abyss of standardized testing and extracurriculars and discovered that junioritis is a very real thing. We lived through precalc and SQ3Rs and physics. We learned PCR through interpretative dance and we came together as a grade to pull off the biggest upset since Croatia and Argentina when we beat the seniors for the Spirit Cup.
And finally, senior year, which can be summed up in 10 words. Williams Well Water, tardies, silent films, TinkerCad, axon hillock and college. Especially that last one.
And we’re still learning so much about each other, even as we sit here, not even minutes away from leaving the Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences forever. (But not actually, because the Academy will follow us wherever we go.)
And go we will, out into the world, hitting the ground running and continuing to run even after every stumble and scraped knee.
And as we prepare for this journey, this voyage, into what some call the blackened abyss of college and adulthood and life, to never return, I only have two words of unsolicited advice: Be passionate.
Whatever our passions may be (whether it’s medicine or science or art or music or business or computer science), however we may have discovered it, and even if we have yet to stumble upon it, we have to embrace that force and use it to drive us forward, into happiness and fulfillment, into the promise of our future.
We’re moving on from the big, bad world of high school to the bigger, badder, but also freer and wider and limitless world of college. And even though this might sound like one of those corny canvases you’ll have hanging in your dorm room, “do it with passion or not at all.” As we step into the first day of the rest of our lives, we have to be reminded that even as we make mistakes, even as we forget what to say or the right thing to do or god-forbid if we ever forget how to address an envelope, that even these little hiccups have to be done with passion and with drive. There is no best choice in life, only the possibility of making the best of your choice. By being passionate. In your endeavors and your relationships, strive to put your whole heart into what you are pursuing and who knows, you may discover a new part of yourself on the way.
And finally, this afternoon, I gave all of you a card that started with the same message. And I will echo the message here: I am a firm believer in the fact that every single person you meet, no matter how long or in what context or in what depth, changes your life. And for that, I want to thank everyone here, all 66 of you, for changing my life for the better. And I only hope I have changed your lives in some way as well.
I want to end this speech the same way I ended my 5th grade graduation speech, 7 years ago, because Dr. Seuss says it best - “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Good luck graduates and congratulations.
What team? (2018!)
5/15/2019 10:38:19 am
No graduation speaker will ever tell you that the future is anything but uncertain. It never is. But graduations need not only be obsessed with looking ahead; a graduation can be a day on which we turn back and trace our steps to see how we ended up where we are.
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