Evan Badler’s Graduation Speech Reply

Hello Principal Johnson, staff, students and parents; I’m very glad to see everyone here today.  Thank you all for coming.  I’d also like to thank our graduating class for giving me this opportunity, and I hope I fulfill your every expectation.
In order to really capture the essence of our time at BSGE, I’m going to tell two relatively brief stories; ones that I hope will truly express how I feel about my fellow graduates of 2010.
In our 10th grade year, just about three years ago, the majority of us had finally finished our personal projects, presentations and all.  Walking out of the dance room where I had discussed my project, a few of my friends and I were totally relieved.  “I’m so glad it’s over” came out of a dozen mouths, and, I must say, we felt like we were done.  Completely done.  Walking in the hallway, I distinctly recall passing a group of three or four seniors.  As they overheard our conversation, they all glanced at one another, almost simultaneously erupting in laughter.  They laughed, and laughed, and laughed, as they knew we were nowhere near finished.
They were absolutely right to do so.  I am fairly confident that should each and every one of us think about how much we’ve accomplished over the last several years—we would all laugh.  It’s difficult not to laugh.  As we continue our careers as students, and as people in society, it is utterly imperative that we keep hold of this ability: to laugh.  Not necessarily at others, but at ourselves, and at the constant curve balls that we will all be dealt.  As soon as we succeed in one challenge, there will be another, higher, obstacle staring us in the face.  And I guarantee that we will succeed then, too—as long as we can take a deep breath, laugh, and continue forward.  Despite the problems that we must expect, I strongly encourage you all to focus on the positives, on how much we have overcome, and smile.
My second story is much more recent; just a couple of months ago.  After walking out of our last class on a draining Wednesday, two of my friends and I strolled sluggishly towards the stairwell, only to see the elevator doors open right in front of us.  Naturally, as second-semester seniors, the three of us climbed in, glad to avoid the dreaded three flights of stairs.
As the doors opened on the first floor, a certain tenth grade math teacher glared at us, shaking his head solemnly with an unclear mix of pity, amusement, and apathy.  His look yielded a simple, dismissive phrase: “you know, you guys are really something”.  Then I, with my unfortunately smart mouth, felt the need to reply “thank you”; a response he did not quite appreciate, as he had us ride back to the fourth floor, then walk down the stairs as we were supposed to.
At first, at least a few of you might conclude that this short story has seemingly very little to offer for this speech—a fairly accurate conclusion.  However, it does provide a bit of context for the phrase that has remained in my mind for the last three months: “you guys are really something”.  Just for a moment, I’d like everyone here today to consider that every single student in this graduating class will attend college.  That is absolutely impressive! How many other high schools can say that?  And with that, I am beyond proud to tell you all that you all are, without a doubt, really something.
Again, I want to take the time to thank you all for coming and taking part in our celebration, and for my classmates for giving me the opportunity to speak to all of you.  Even more so, I want to thank all of the school’s faculty and administration for helping us through our six, or in some cases four, years at BSGE.  And parents, though we may not always express our gratitude, we cannot thank you enough for your guidance and support.
Before I step off this stage today, I’d like to leave you all with a quote from Dr. Seuss.  He wrote, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own.  And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
Thank you , good luck to all, and congratulations!

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