Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Graduation Speech :: Graduation Speech, Commencement Address
Betty Lou is right -- Our achievements of the past four years have been an honor. And so I offer my congratulations to each of you for achieving the honor that comes with high school graduation. Up to this point, high school may be the most exciting and difficult experience of our lives. We've enjoyed the carefree and happy times with WWF-style pep assemblies, dances, Junior T-P nights, and classes with friends. We've had our bad days too, though. The days when we forgot our semester project for C.I. at home, or when we couldn't stop falling asleep and Mr. Gnome made us get up to "open a window." But far worse were the times when we felt alone. We've all had days of personal crisis when we've felt rejected by those around us or alienated from them. Hopefully, we were fortunate enough to have had a friend come rescue us from isolation, but perhaps not. As senior year comes to an end and we walk away from high school into a much bigger and more complicated world, we should not leave our years at Tree without reflecting on time spent here together and remembering what we have observed across the country, especially in the last year. There is certainly no simple answer to the tragic events that have occurred at other high schools recently. We look at the tragedies of Jonesboro, Pearl, Fayetteville, Springfield, Edinboro, West Paducah, Moses Lake, Jacksonville, and Littleton and question the reason behind the violence that occurred. While finding an answer may be impossible, it is still wise for us to look for causes and most appropriate, to search for solutions. Many of the contributing factors are likely beyond our control and there is no way for us to prevent them. There are, however, plenty of little things that we do or can do that affect others more than we realize. For example, all of us should be quick to distinguish between what is friendly teasing and what teasing torments our peers. It may have lost some significance, having been repeated so often on the news and in health classes, but it is important to treat others with respect. We never know when we may cross the line and, though not meaning to, be a source of torment to someone else. We all need to become more sensitive to what crosses the line when interacting with others. It is for our benefit, as well as others, that we do this.