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The speeches you you didn’t hear at Graduation

By Abi Oshins and Denebola
Published: June 2010

By Allie Glickman:

One of the biggest things that our English teachers tell us is to use quotations to help develop an argument, and then expand upon that quotation.

So why should this technique we have been using for the past four years not apply to a graduation speech? I, like many of you I assume, turn to music as a way to express things I am trying to say.

Now I could go through twenty songs and explain to you why they apply to the class of 2010, but no one wants to sit through a speech that’s that long. Instead, I’m just going to try to weave in a few lyrics that I feel are important for us to consider.

High school is like going on a trip. You never know exactly where you are, and just when you think you do, something changes. Jason Robert Brown explores this idea in his song, The New World. “And you thought you knew, but you didn’t have a clue. That the surface sometimes cracks to reveal the tracks to a new world.

When I first entered Newton South, I thought I had everything figured out. I was going to leave behind the loud, little girl from middle school and become a sophisticated star. The stage, and the world, was going to be mine. I was the most talented person to ever walk the halls of this school and everyone would know it.

The reality of high school wasn’t really that. Instead I found that I still had the stigma of my middle school self attached to me, and in no way was I the star.

Every time I thought I was on the right path, another path would show up and I would venture down that one instead. Some may see this as a bad thing, but I choose to see it positively.

One of the incredible things about Newton South is the fact that it offers so many different opportunities and paths for each of us to take. There are sports to play, clubs to join, shows to audition for, art classes to take. It’s all there for the taking. We are all able to find something that we feel defines us and makes us happy.

The downside is that groups with shared interests sometimes isolate themselves or become isolated from the rest of the class. We all find a place to be comfortable and for many of us, it was hard to step outside of that space. I personally avoided the field house. In fact, many of my friends probably think don’t know where it is. I was not a sports enthusiast, so instead I sought refuge in the chorus room.

My apologies for referencing High School Musical, but I feel that the lyrics to Stick to the Status Quo perfectly describe this sentiment. “Stick to the stuff you know. It is better by far to keep things as they are. No matter what desire I sometimes felt to break the barriers and walk into the field house, I never followed through because it wasn’t “my place.

However, senior year came with some interesting surprises. Some people I never thought I’d see in the chorus room were eating lunch in there. Friend groups began to merge. I even went to my first football game! And now I am standing here in the Field House, the one place in the building that I’ve never felt comfortable, and speaking to all of you.

I don’t know if it’s just something that happens senior year, but I find we now have a unity we didn’t have before. Perhaps as we get older, we become more and are now better able to reach out to others.

Who really knows what the reason is, but what’s important is that this unity exists now. We’re all about to leave this school behind, but we’re doing it together.

We can try and explain the experiences we’ve had over the four years to the people we meet, but no one’s going to understand it quite like we, the Newton South High School Class of 2010, will. It feels good to know that I will always have something in common with every single one of you. No matter how different we are, we all share something special.

Jerry Herman wrote, “Hold this moment fast, because the best of times is now. Now I’m not sure if the best of times is really now, but these have been some pretty great times that we should hold on to.

We should hold onto this unity we’ve created and bring it with us wherever we go. As my hero, Stephen Sondheim, wrote, “It’s our time, breathe it in. Worlds to change, and worlds to win. Our turn, coming through. Me and you pal, me and you.

Each of us in this room has something special to offer to the world, so go out and do it. Class of 2010, this really is our time.

Congratulations!

By Ross McDonald:

When I told our class president I wanted to write a graduation speech, he gave me a puzzling look. He asked me, “ What do you have to say to our entire grade? Unfazed, I replied nonchalantly, “I’ll write what I know, Chen.

So obviously I’m going to get into a pole vault metaphor in a few seconds. One…Two… I jumped into the pole and suddenly I heard a crack. Next thing I knew I was flying through the air unknowing of where I was going to land.

That’s how high school started for me, and I bet that y’all probably had the same experience. In the beginning, we started on a boat with T-pain. Okay maybe not literally on a boat but I think we’ll all agree that the freshman cruise was A-mazing. It was the our first taste of who would win best dancer superlative.

Looking back on sophomore year, well I don’t remember anything¦ perhaps because there was nothing memorable *cough* sophomore sleepover! Oh wait, we did sophomore speeches.

Unfortunately I forgot what I wrote mine on -pause- oh yeah, concussions. Well maybe that’s why… I do however, remember the final Harry Potter book coming out and EARNING my license through all the controversy of watching Disney movies during driving school class.
Life’s changed so much these four years. Technology has come a long way with all these new phones, computers, and the iPad. We used have to leave our houses only having to remember our keys. Nowadays, who doesn’t leave their house without an iPod, a Macbook, an iPhone, a Blackberry, an insulin-pump…sorry that’s just me.

Speaking of last weekend, I bet all of us were finishing up projects our teachers assigned us for the last weekend before school ended. They call it senior slump, but it becomes debatable who’s getting the most out of slump when the teachers say,do a project and hand it in to me in two weeks…

Truth is, it’s our time to shine, this is the end when we leave our mark. We knew when we first got here, our school had little spirit. But we picked the pole up again, took our ideas and started running. We’re all running so fast now, we barely take time to appreciate where we’re even going.

John Lennon said, Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Now when I put my life in perspective and put all my financial hopes and Olympic dreams aside, I realize the one thing that’s most important to me’€that is to be remembered in this world.
But we all share that common sentiment. The first class of the new decade. The fiftieth graduating class of Newton South. We are history, and yeah, get used to it, because we are the future and soon enough we’ll even be in history books.

There’s so much going for us, so let’s not let it all go to waste. We have the power and momentum to move our society forward. To make an impact. To start a movement. You may ask yourself are we capable? And in the wise words of our class president Chen Cao, Yes we can.

Now take a look around at your classmates, this may be the last time we’ll all be together. Some of us will become doctors or lawyers, some of us will become teachers or well.. pole vaulters. No matter where you end up or what you end up doing, when you see someone from your high school class, you better stop and say hi.

We will always have that special connection with each other knowing we came from the same place.We’re here now. But before walking up onto this stage we’ll experience that last little bit of adrenaline rush, just like clearing a bar in the pole vault.

It’s the same feeling, the feeling of success and accomplishment, knowing that everything we’ve done so far has led up to this moment in our lives.

Now everybody stand up with me and wave to the crowd, cuz you’ve done it, you’ve won.

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