Graduation Speech: It’s time.

By Hannah Furgang
Published: June 2010

Time. There is nothing more interminable, and nothing more fleeting. Take Friday, June 4th, at 10 of 2.

Four years of waking up early and sitting at desks, trying to absorb the seemingly endless flow of information thrown at us day in and day out was suddenly condensed into the last five minutes before the clock struck freedom.

At the ring of a bell, we were liberated from the chains of obligation, exhaustion, and alarm clocks. In-class essays, history projects that kept us up all night, and cafeteria food were nothing but distant memories. And it makes you think.

What did you learn from the countless hours you spent on that reproductive system powerpoint presentation junior year? Did Ogunkwo’s struggle in Things Fall Apart really change your perspective on life? What did you actually gain from skipping Spanish that one time? Was the mad rush to get to and from Mighty’s in half an hour ever worth it?

Right now the last four years probably seem insignificant. Sure, you made some great friends and learned how to write a solid essay, but it took a pretty freakin long time.

Think of all the places you could have seen, books you could have read, mountains you could have climbed, but you didn’t because you were at school.

You could have made a name for yourself. Now those four years have passed, and what do you have to show for it?

Okay, so we can’t deny that we have learned a great deal here at Newton South, whether it be how to rotate a parabola onto its side, or what made Faustus a tragic hero. But sometimes I think we lose sight of the learning that really matters.

We learned how to will ourselves out of bed for an A block we just weren’t excited for. We learned how to hold our own against a stubborn classmate in a debate. We learned how to navigate through the intricacies of high school social life.

A select few of us learned how to balance work and sleep. We learned how to deal with rejection and disappointment, and we learned how truly sweet acceptance can be. We learned that the dreams of our childhood can change. And we learned how quickly everything happens.

Looking back, these last four years feel like a dream. I can remember each second feeling distinctly like a second, but when the seconds turned into minutes and hours and days and years, time somehow ceased to exist.

It became impossible to distinguish a single moment or feeling or thought without conjuring up years of memories. Every experience we’ve ever had is intertwined with every other, and we have become the sum of these experiences.

I remember being late to my first high school class ever. It was A block World History with Mr. Milligan on the third floor of the one thousands. Coming from a one story, two hallway school, I was ill equipped to handle the towering maze that was Newton South.

So I was left to stand there in the doorway of the class, looking from one unfamiliar face to the next, unsure of where to sit. Five minutes earlier I had been planning to take on this school by storm. I was confident that everyone would be awed by this witty new girl, a pint-sized bucket of surprises who would be good at everything on the first try.

But whatever hilarious introduction was in my head as I stood in that doorway had no intention of leaving my mouth.

In that moment, I was thankful for being short, as there was less of me to tremble with nerves.

Time may not have given me much in the way of height since that September day, but I think we can agree that we’ve all matured a tremendous deal since our first days as freshmen. And most likely, Newton South has grown on us as well.

Newton South is not just a place. Newton South has a personality. The high standards, the spirit of the track team, the chorus room during lunch, the extended A block following a pulled fire alarm, rumors of a squirrel that OD’d on sour milk in the Wheeler stairwell and then died and turned to cinnamon, these are the things that exemplify Newton South.

For all its eccentricities, this is a place that wanted to see us succeed. Here, teachers weren’t just teachers; they were mentors. Even their teaching wasn’t constrained by what is written in their textbooks.

Every day they bestowed upon us a little bit of their life experience. The teachers, administration, and custodial staff all contributed to this net of support that caught us every time we fell.

We all made mistakes that couldn’t be undone, but Newton South was there to make sure that we learned from them and were able to rebound. Anxious as we may be to leave, we know that high school never ended at J block, and it isn’t over now. The Newton South experience, like time, is not a tangible thing, and it will follow us wherever we choose to go in life.

I can no longer tell you what made Faustus a tragic hero or how to rotate a parabola onto its side, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget Ms. Popp’s peevish grin or Mr. Cascino’s ancient Japanese tribal chants at the beginning of class.

I’ll always remember the joy I got from learning, and how that happiness propelled me to where I am today.

And look where I am. Look where we all are. We made it. We got our funny hats and wizard robes, and a fancy piece of paper to hang on our walls. But we have so much more.

We have four years of learning and laughing and crying under our metaphorical belts. Those four years went by fast, and life isn’t going to slow down any time soon.

And so I leave you with this thought: One oh. Let’s go. It’s time.

Read more

Like it? Share it!


Copyright © Denebola | The Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School | 140 Brandeis Road, Newton, MA 02459.
Site designed by Chenzhe Cao.