To the (high school) class of 2015, from 6/1/15:
Over the past 12 years we’ve gotten a lot smarter, a lot savvier, and, for the lucky ones, a lot taller. Let’s just run through all of our little developments, shall we? First there was grade zero, kindergarten. Back when our backpacks were bigger than our bodies and our energy levels were, well let’s just say it would take a double espresso to get that hyper again. We entered the classroom in one of two states: 1. excited beyond belief 2. crying. a lot. Let’s just take a moment to thank the kindergarten teachers (and parents) for dealing with that.
Next came those awkward late elementary school years. This was when girls had cooties, guys wore shorts in the snow, and everyone had braces. And we thought we were cool! The most rebellious thing we could do was whisper or whistle under our breath while walking in lines in the hallway. The winner was who could do it the loudest without getting caught. And don’t even get me started on that one week when everyone brought home an instrument. I still remember my sister’s sole christmas request was to soundproof my room so she would never have to hear that saxophone again.
It’s become a taboo to even mention these two words in high school, but here goes. Middle School. Bless those teachers. Those were rough years. We wore nike shocks, listened to JB (back when that still meant the Jonas Brothers), and watched Hannah Montana before she turned into a wrecking ball. I remember racing Eddie Jean in the mile in fifth and sixth grade. It was quite a spectacle to see me, 4’6” with shorts rolled up and shirt tucked in and Eddie, 6’2” already with a beard, sprinting down the home stretch. The long legs got me then but eventually I caught up. Time wise, not height wise. I’m not sure if this was the story at T/E but at Valley Forge we played foursquare. A lot of four square. And we were intense enough that we actually created brackets and leagues to decide who could play where. We wore dorky all-one-color outfits and got Beiber-style bowl cuts, dare I even mention the fedora phase? And we thought we were cool!
Finally, finally we made it to Conestoga. Moving from the kings and queens of middle school to the bottom of high school was quite a shock for many, but we got used to it. Finally we had the freedom to choose how to spend our free periods and go to the bathroom without asking… sometimes. Many of us started dressing nicely, or at least nicer, and wearing suits and dresses became enjoyable instead of catastrophic.
We started to realize that our teachers were actual humans and not just robots who slept at the school. I still remember the first time a teacher swore in class. That was a great moment. We started to develop people skills. We solidified or completely switched friend groups. We joined clubs or sports teams that we never would have done before. We went to our first dance with the lights off, that is, before they turned them all back on again sophomore year.
Many of us, thanks to a huge range of classes and clubs, started to find a niche. Whether it be chemistry, or TV, or marching band, there was something for everyone, and if there wasn’t we made something new, like the breakdancing I mean, excuse me, b-boying team, or the TED talk club! We’re incredibly lucky to have opportunities like this because many schools don’t. Thanks to this school we started to outline a vague idea of what we might want to do for the rest of our lives. I could have gone to a school without an AP psychology class or a marching band and I would be completely different. We’re incredibly lucky and I think we should make a point to recognize that by thanking our amazing teachers, administrators, coaches, and school board (thanks mom).
We’re not finished yet, though. I have a funny feelin that in four years I’ll write a speech that includes the line “we wore vineyard vines from head to toe, and we thought we were cool!” Tomorrow night we’ll graduate and move on to the next chapter, but let’s take tonight to remember everything we’ve done, and who we’ve become. We certainly have a ways to go, but Conestoga helped me get closer, this I know.