EDIT: I'm so sorry! I meant to put this in the "speeches" section! Will a moderator please move it for me? Thanks!
Would you care to give me your thoughts on this first draft of my high school graduation speech?
Do you remember when we were in eighth grade, and Mr. (guidance counselor) would come to visit us in our classrooms to answer all the questions we had about high school? Did you have anything to ask him? I know I did. The prospect of high school practically scared me to death, and I had a question for him for each and every one of my frets and worries. Honestly, I had my hand in the air so much that I think he just ignored me after a while. "Is it anything like middle school?" I asked. Are the classes hard? Are the teachers mean? Are they.... evil?
I'm sure that all of you have experienced something like this. We were on the cusp of entering into the unknown – the unfamiliar. It's only natural to try to quell those fears by learning all that you possibly can about what you're about to face, right? I don't know, maybe some of you found different ways to confront that challenge in front of you. But for me, the solution was to figure out the answers to as many questions as I could.
Fast-forward four years with me, now. It's 2012. Now that we've finished high school, I think we can say that we have answered a lot of questions. And, after four years' experience, the million questions that I threw at Mr. (guidance counselor) now seem nothing less than naïve and foolish. We all know now that high school is way different from middle school. We know now that the classes are challenging, and we know that the teachers are actually kind and reasonable... usually. In fact, they, for their part, answered a lot of questions, like how to write a well-planned essay, how to balance a chemical equation, how to "solve for x," how to speak a foreign language, and how to do all those other things that we're supposed to know how to do by now.
But that's not really the point, is it? No, the value in a high school education doesn't reside in the questions that we managed to answer, but rather in the questions we forced ourselves to ask. I'm not talking about raising your hand in a classroom here, though. I'm talking about those questions that have taken shape inside you over the past four years, the answers to which you don't quite know yet. What will you do with your life? What will you study in college, or what profession will you make your own? What impact will you have on the world, now that you're finally going out into it? We have asked ourselves these things, and we have begun the process of answering them, but the reality is that they remain, for now, mysteries.
On that note, I would like to leave you today with a few closing comments and a request. First, I want to say that I am proud to be a member of (my high school's) class of 2012. Over the last four years we've proven our excellence in academics, in athletics, and most importantly, in character. I'll never forget that day we showed the world who we are as a class, and I am immeasurably honored to have been a part of it.* Second, I'd like to thank all those who made it possible for us to receive our diplomas today. The parents, the teachers, the administration, Mr. (principal) – without them we wouldn't be gathered here in these caps and gowns. And finally, I want all of you to consider those questions that (my high school) prompted you to ask, and I want you to go out and answer them. Thank you.
*This is a reference that they will understand. I'm referring to a day where all the seniors skipped class for a day of community service.
Thank you so much for your input!