To My Fellow Graduates

One graduating senior would like to take a moment to address his fellow graduates. It’s like a graduation speech, but in a newspaper.

By Ben Newman

As we are about to graduate high school, allow me to offer some words of wisdom, a kind of graduation speech in a newspaper column. And since a good graduation speech always begins with a quote, I didn’t get just one, I got four.

First quote. Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” I guess he never went to high school and took the ACT, a timed test. There are 60 math questions and you have 60 minutes to complete them. Then the test proctor announces, “5 minutes,” and you still have ten questions. You did not stop, you just ran out of time, and you frantically began filling in bubbles to complete the section. Slow and steady doesn’t always win the race, and as we now live in a world of political correctness, let’s allow the hare to win every once in a while, or least give him a participation trophy because, after all, he tried. High school shows us how to manage our time. That day in English class when your research paper is due and you don’t have it done and the teacher says, “Just turn it into me when you can.” That’s very nice that they don’t fail you on the spot. In the real world when we have a deadline we have to meet it.

Second quote. Ray Kroc said, “Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.” I guess that’s good news for some of you. I must be the luckiest guy in the school, as I sweat just walking from one end of the building to the other.

Third quote, from Stephen Colbert: “Life is an improvisation, you have no idea what’s going to happen next and you are mostly just making things up as you go along.” I can attest to this first hand. I had no idea I was going to rip my pants not once but twice this year. But I rolled with it and laughed about it. After all, what is life if you can’t have fun and laugh at yourself?

Fourth quote. This time by Whitney Houston: “I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” That’s nice, but it’s said a bit too much. Last year’s graduating class was the future and next year’s is the future and the class of 2025 is the future. Live life not worrying about the future but enjoy every moment you have and live in the moment.

Weren’t we supposed to have tile on the upstairs hallway? It’s still bare. I think we’d rather have that green carpet back.

The second thing that a graduation address cannot be without is reminiscing about all the good memories we made. Now, let’s remember our years at Central High School. Who can forget the school lunches? Freshman year we had a la carte items, including ice cream. Today we eat Mexican Fiesta Potato Bowl. Does this mean that we get a bowl of potatoes, or it’s a potato in the shape of a bowl? Another delicacy on our lunch menu is the All Meat Hot Dog. So were the hot dogs before not all meat, and does all meat mean no bun? I’m pretty sure at one time we had the fish wedge on the menu. Yummy. Who didn’t love that moist, delicious fish wedge? I’m pretty sure I’ve thrown away more school lunch in life than I’ve actually eaten. Also, remember the construction freshmen year? Weren’t we supposed to have tile on the upstairs hallway? It’s still bare. I think we’d rather have that green carpet back. What about the library, where our study group can’t study for a test that is next block because we might get a little loud? So, instead, let’s go down to the commons where the decibel reading is off the charts.

Now, jokes aside, there’s one thing I want my classmates in the class of 2016 to remember, and that’s the friendships we’ve made. The people in this graduating class are so diverse, and yet we can all get along. The love from this group of people is immense. We support everyone from the athletes to the performing arts. In our class I see future doctors, engineers, lawyers, scientists, politicians, athletes, and actors. These are people who are going to change the world and it’s fascinating that right now, at this moment in life, we are all friends. “No man is a failure who has friends.” We’ve had ups and downs, but we’ve made it through together. Going to sporting events and plays and struggling through AP chemistry, we couldn’t have gotten through high school without friends.

Photo: The Chancellor’s View by David Morris on Flickr