I was impressed with how behaved the 330 8th graders were during the hour and a half long ceremony. Still, by the time their principal at Shadowlawn Middle School started his, ” I don’t give speeches” speech I just knew the kids eyes were glazing over with dreams of days spent lounging, eating ice cream and going to the baseball field on summer nights, at least that’s what I thought of at that exact moment in my life.
I, on the other hand, was in the high of my day. At 8:30 a.m. I’ve already anchored two and a half hours of news, applied several layers of make-up and caffeinated myself to the point of perfect concentration mixed with a beautiful amount of joie de vivre that together made me the ideal student for the principal’s graduation pep talk.
It was really great. I hope some of the students heard it. Nothing too heavy, but enough to make this 29 year old seize the day with a little more enthusiasm when I walked out and returned to work.
He told them :
1) To aim high.
“In the long run men only hit what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.”
2) To truly realize MLK’s dream. He asked the students to imagine our society is just as they would have it; not judged on gender, wealth, family position, GPA, race or hometown. Instead one would be judged on character alone; would you be happy with the result?
3) Repaying the debt known as the privilege of being alive.
This is probably one of the strongest factors behind my ambition – be it career or personal life. I feel that debt I owe. Mine can be heavy at times – from feeling a sense of guilt when I nap on a crisp sunny day, feeling I could do better at work or choosing comfort over adventure. Why was I lucky enough to be born?
Life is so short. I hope those students find something that fascinates them and continue wanting more.
I don’t even remember my high school graduation speech, but I wish it had been something practical like this. Be happy, be good and appreciate the gift of life.
I was there to see my Big Brother Big Sister, little sis graduate. After this summer Kiara is heading into high school. I’m nervous and she’s not even my flesh and blood. Those years are hard. The decisions we make stay with us for long after. The things we see and witness manifest later in life as dreams or at times as resentments. I know this, she has a very special mother and a big happy (full of braces) smile. Those are two very important things. I’m eager to watch her grow up the next four years. Go Kiara!