Good evening, Father Scott, Father Jerome, Father Garry, Mrs. Williams and Members of the School Board, Dr. Gere and the Administration, Faculty and Staff, Family Members, and most especially the Class of 2017. I am honored to have the opportunity to share my thoughts with you, as we celebrate our graduation from Donovan Catholic.
So I was thinking about what I’m looking forward to in college, and I’m not going to lie, I’m excited to learn something new! I know being excited to learn sounds nerdy, but I’m not just talking about learning higher end calculus, sorry Ms. Weber. I’m talking about learning about myself, learning how to live independently, learning about other people, learning how to make a living out of something I love. I’m excited to learn about our world, and how to change it for the better.
And then I stop and think about the fact that I am actually going to college, leaving home for the first time ever, and honestly I’m a little scared. And the whole concept of college seems overwhelming, like how exactly am I going to manage to change the whole world for the better?! Forget about changing the world, it will be a miracle if I can keep myself supplied with clean clothes! J So whether we’re starting college or setting out to change the world (or maybe both at the same time), I think the most important thing we can do is trust ourselves and use the lessons we’ve learned in the past to learn more in the future.
I want to take this time to thank a couple people in my life who have taught me invaluable lessons. To my whole family- thank you for shaping me into the person I am today. To my best friend, my better half, my skipper, my twin – I love you more than words can say. To my parents, my first teachers- I am forever grateful for all you have done for me. You have always supported me. Thank you for loving me and for always reminding me that you will continue to love me even if I fail a test and it just so happens to ruin the rest of my life J. You have sacrificed so much for me. You gave me the gift of education, for which I will be forever grateful. This Catholic education had given me the foundation of the most basic lessons of friendship and love. To my teachers- you give of yourself each and every day to make us into better people and stronger Catholics. Over these past four years, you’ve taught us important lessons not only in your subjects, but about what it means to be adults who act for the betterment of those around us.
We can learn a lesson from all experiences. Our friends, our families, our work – all give us examples to follow and experiences to look back on. Don’t be afraid to fail – remember that Sando’s door says that “fail” stands for “first attempt in learning.” We should take away the good and the bad from anything we do, remembering the good and working to improve the bad. Remember that we will only get out of life what we put into it, so we have to live our lives to the fullest and dance like no one is watching. Song lyrics, our teachers, younger kids, public figures- all provide opportunities for us to learn and grow. I want to share some inspirational quotes and lessons I’ve learned over these past four years in the hopes that we all can use them to learn more lessons in the future as we go out to change the world.
C.S. Lewis wrote that “it’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.”
Jake Belanger said once that “we don’t need a lot to have a lot.”
RJ Palacio wrote “Accept what you have and treat it well.”
Father Jerome taught me that we should embrace every person as if they are the last person we can treat kindly.
We should Always, Always, Always be thankful.
Alyssa Wilson taught me the importance of humility.
The cross proves that the greater the suffering the more glorious the triumph.
Mr. Pontier taught me that we need to learn from our past so that we don’t make the same mistakes in the future.
God tells us that each and every one of us is magnificent.
Robert Frost said that “We love the things we love for what they are.”
Mr Kearney told us that “Changing our minds isn’t a bad thing, it just means that we’ve been thinking.”
Katie Ullmann, Austin, and Matt Bruinooge taught me that friend groups don’t have to define friendships.
One of the Teachings of Buddha states “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle. And the life of that single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared”
Mrs. Mulvaney’s classroom door reminds us that it is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.
Hope Deys taught me how to be goofy and what it means to be a true friend.
Full House taught me that if we can read English, we can cook
I’ve learned from the Big Brother Big Sister program that kind words and actions can have an impact far beyond what we know
Vivian taught me that it’s never too late to make a new friend.
Ms. Weber says that sometimes we have to ask ourselves if we would rather be right, or if we would rather be happy.
Srishti said that “You are free to make you own choices, but you will never be free of the consequences of your choices.”
Faith proves that everything happens for a reason.
And as Mrs. Mattsson taught us “Above all, to thine own selves be true.”
In the future, I’m looking forward to learning something new, meeting new people, and trying new things. But I’m also looking forward to seeing how you all change the world. As griffins, we’ve learned that if we stay true to ourselves and work hard, we are destined for success. In closing, I wish all of you many blessings in the future. Remember to keep looking for a lesson in every experience. Although our graduation may mean goodbye, we’ve learned lessons here that have changed our lives, lessons that will stay with us for as long as we live. As Winnie the Pooh says “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
Thank you and may God Bless the Class of 2017