ruthless compassion (aroraborealis) wrote,
ruthless compassion

valedictory speech

In looking for a reference from one of my college papers yesterday, which involved shuffling through lots of old papers and such, I ran across the speech I gave at my high school graduation:

Every exit is an entrance somewhere else, every ending a beginning.

In writing this speech, I wanted to include a part of every individual in the class. I decided to get one word from each senior, as many as I could. Then I would use them in my speech. Of course I received some unusual words, but I have tried to integrate them without being too fragmented. I think that each person plans to stand up when he hears his word, but I'm not sure. I hope you can appreciate my classmates' creativity as much as I have. I missed three: kumquat, Peter-Bilt, and antidisestablishmentarianism and apologize to Stacey, Willie and Dustin for that. Or maybe they should apologize to me.

Eighteen years ago, the canvas of the class of '94 was blank. It was perfectly smooth and perfectly white and perfectly boring until the first of us was born, and with that birth the first stroke of brilliant color was laid on the canvas. We've been adding to it ever since.

Now we have a varied group of individuals which can never be duplicated. We have Republicans and Democrats, feminists and antifeminists, narcoleptics and insomniacs, trout fisherman and spritual fishermen, mountain climbers and social climbers. We are international: we have a Limey, a Brzilian, a Swiss, and a Ukrainian. We even have a vegetarian or two.

Under any nationality, belief system, or location on the food chain, our actions have been adding colors to the canvas since day one. The image of our ecstatic dance of life is becoming more and more refined as time passes. We partake in the delicious feast life offers us.

As young children, before stress entered our lives, we played joyously in the sunbeams of childhood magic and discovery. We sang along with Mary Poppins and wished we could join her supercalifragilisticexpialidocious world. (Thanks, Julie!) What seemed unbelievable to grown-ups was perfectly reasonable to us.

When our parents lots their tempers for the thousandth time the year we were mischievous six year olds, none of us gave a thought to the time when we would say good-bye, not only to our parents but to our friends and teachers and everything familiar up to this day.

The canvas gained more color, layer upon layer, as we shaped our lives in the cool shade of undulating willow trees. Our curious minds unlocked the mysteries of hidden fortresses and exotic worlds. The only things to be anxious about were how late we could stay up and if mom had put the right kind of jelly on our sandwiches.

But now we worry about the degradation of moral fiber, heinous crimes, twisted priorities, greed and surviving the jungle our world has become. The vivid colors on our mural have been dimmed by tragedy and sorrow. As I look before me, I see vigorous young men and women who will make order out of the chaos to which our world seems to have fallen victim. I see humane citizens who will do everything in their power to show everyone that our generation can knock the socks off the lackadaisical doubters of our intentions and bring effervescent cheer back into the scene.

Undaunted by the obstacles we face, we will prove that none of us is superfluous in creating a better realm in which to raise our children. Apologetics might claim that the obstacles are insurmountable, but it is time to chirk ourselves out of this state of apathy and indifference. The class of '94 will lead the next generation to a promised land where the truly important things come first. Seredipity will often be a result of human kindness; prejudice can be a thing of the past.

We will bottle joy and distribute it to those less fortunate than ourselves, and when we have finished, we will reap the reward of true companionship with our neighbors.

The festive scene is clear before my eyes. I can see lovely hands, reaching toward the golden apples of cooperation, understanding and respect. Children play basketball, carefree and safe from harm in their back yards. A truck drives by, and the neighbor waves. The little boys across the street drag sticks across the aluminum siding of a garage; perhaps the racket I hear is their very own orchestra.

A small girl shrieks as her brother opens his hand to reveal a creepy-crawly arachnid. Their parents stand in the yard, sipping cool drinks and shaking their heads as the pulsating beat of their teenaged child's music drifts through the air. They reminisce about the days of erogenous awakening and innocent love.

I know these people. They are my classmates. I see their faces before me in the faces of the heroes who rescued the world. I blink, and the cavas stands partially painted before me, before us. I look out and see you, my childhood friends and playmates, my confidants and supports, those of you who have been these things to others, and I know that the class of 1994 will not let itself be forgotten. We will change the world. The class of 1994 cannot be duplicated, cannot be improved, and will never, ever be topped! Quad Erat Demonstrandum.

This is the end of high school, but the beginning of a grand adventure.

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