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.
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.]]>
As we turn the page in the new chapter of our column we come back to a sport in the United States.
It is a race of freedom, patriotism and insanity.
The sport we bring to you today that goes by the name of “Big Wheeling. The origin of the Big Wheel goes back to 1969 in California and was first presented in the ‘Ëœ69 New York Toy Fair.
Ever since that fateful day in 1969, a new sport has flourished across the country and has come to be known as Big Wheel racing.
A brief explanation of the sport is to simply finish in first place.
The appeal of the sport comes from two areas: speed and drifting. Speed comes from the chosen route.
For an excellent race one must choose a course entirely down hill with numerous rolling turns to spice things up.
We have done some research on YouTube and learned that semi professional racers, taped by “bevans1993 have been clocked at a blazing 45 mph.
Drifting comes into play due to the lack of tread on the two back tires, which are hollow plastic tubes.
These do not provide a significant amount of traction for the bike, which is important when taking a turn.
When turning, the back tires whip around, turning the bike side a ways, inducing a drift.
Yet again, we summoned the same talented seventh graders to the top of Heartbreak Hill on the side carriage.
However, only five of the past contestants participated due to the fact that one had lost the Heartbreak Hill race in April and could not bring herself to scale the hill again.
The other had conflicting religious beliefs and could not partake in the event.
All athletes were equipped properly so that they could perform to their full potential and perform safely*.
The race began with a pack of big wheels bumping into each other and the immediate destruction of an Original Mighty Big Wheel.
As the driver fell safely to the pavement, due to his “surviving the drive skills, the other drivers swept along, big wheels intact.
As they approached the first turn, the plastic wheels started to slip.
Due to inertia, gravity, and poor manufacturing alike, the big wheels started to drift. The lack of turning during a drift caused two of the contestants to over-shoot the turn and spill safely on the median.
As the two remaining contestants expertly navigated the course, a big wheel fight ensued.
Aggressive big wheel bumping back and forth increased the tension between the racers.
They both wanted the victory and neither was willing to back down as they accepted the motto “death before dishonor.
100 yards from the finish line, a pot hole snuck up on one of the contestants and flung him 5 feet into the air (he landed safely).
The lone contestant haughtily crossed the finish line with all of his body parts intact.
The winner, Mini Snax (Eli Levine), school: Brown Middle School, favorite class: Spanish/Math, height: 5’1, and years big wheeling: Ã‚’. Being related the the co-author of this column, Snax,
Mini Snax clearly inherited his big wheel genes from Mega Snax (Andy Levine), who was the 3-time champion of the Scarsdale 300 in New York.
From this experience we have learned that we are all “meat, blood, bone, and brains and that we need to take the proper precautions in order to safely big wheel.
If you remember that directly behind your eyes is your brain, then you know that paying attention behind the big wheel is directly related to attention to the race.
*This race is a fictionalized account based on a true story. No seventh graders were harmed during the event. All facts are fiction.]]>
This quotation from Monty Python’s Spamalot describes Medieval England at the time of the Black Death, one of the deadliest pandemics in history. Now just replace “plague with “swine flu, add a few flashing lights, and it would almost be equivalent to the dramatics with which the modern media is covering the H1N1 pandemic.
They’ve actually put coverage of Lindsay Lohan’s hair on hold for a week and are warning the public about H1N1¦ incessantly. Every other word on the news is about the flu, flu victims, or pigs.
This freak-out in the media, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. Because swine flu reports are so frequent, people like us teenagers who wouldn’t normally look at a newspaper or switch on the news have become aware of the pandemic.
The numerous news reports also emphasize that if people are feeling sick, they might actually want to do something about it, as opposed to brushing it off as a symptom of seasonal allergies or just another annoying common cold.
But just because the media has outrageously overexposed the swine flu does not by any means suggest that we should join in on the hysteria.
Let me reiterate that: WE DO NOT NEED TO ADD TO THE SWINE FLU HYSTERIA.
For some reason, the Newton South community has been buzzing about the illness to infinity and beyond. There have been rumors of teachers, students, and cousins of friends of uncles of ex-roommates who have been infected.
Sophomore Linnea Miller heard from five different classmates in one day that her old history teacher caught the infamous swine flu. That same day she saw the teacher, who was completely fine. The teacher then affirmed that she was indeed in good health.
First of all, if anyone at South did catch the flu, the administration wouldn’t just sweep it under the rug. The whole school would be officially informed, if not shut down.
Second of all, that’s just crazy. There is no need to make up rumors pertaining to the H1N1 virus, especially if it’s because you have nothing better to talk about. If you like making up stories join an improv troupe or write a great American novel.
Now that we’ve determined that calming down is the best course of action, how might we actually go about it? Here are some suggestions:
1) Stop making up rumors about the flu. If you haven’t made up any, don’t start. Even if it’s just a joke, someone might think you’re serious.
2) If it really makes you feel better, carry around a bottle of hand sanitizer.
3) When the reporter on the daily news talks about H1N1 for the fourth time this week, remember that it’s probably because there’s nothing better to talk about.
4) When the reporter on the daily news talks about H1N1 for the fifth time this week, turn off the television¦ do you have nothing better to do?
5) Drink tea. (It doesn’t protect against the swine flu. It’s just calming.)
These helpful hints are bound to help you retain some measure of rational thought. They work for me.
Some might argue that this rather passive and admittedly slightly apathetic attitude is downplaying the seriousness of the disease. For clarification’s sake, I don’t think we should ignore the swine flu or those affected; I just feel that we should maintain our grasp on reality. Making our own lives unbearable with paranoia is just not constructive.
We got through SARS (which was much worse, may I remind you), and we’ll get through this, too. So relax, squirt on some hand sanitizer, and remember: the H1N1 pandemic isn’t as bad as the Black Plague¦ we’re not dead yet!