Hello everyone, I would like to extend a final thank you for joining us at our commencement ceremony. Today I was given the task to give a farewell address; well, I’ve never been great at good-byes so here it goes.
When I was young, my family always told me “life is all about choices.” While most of the time they were just trying to get me to brush my teeth, the words stuck with me throughout my life during times of real conflict. In elementary school we all started our mornings with words of wisdom, short stories meant to fill our days with motivation and morals. Most of us, I’ll admit, whispered over the announcements and received dirty looks from Mrs. Spaulding, or Mrs. Hartley. Despite that, I think we can all remember the parting words: Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours. When we achieved freshman status, these words were no longer heard every day and I believe we might have forgotten their meaning. As we leave high school today, I would like to reiterate the fact that your outlook on life and your future is largely up to you.
These past four years were like a trial run full of small decisions; we chose which classes to take, which table to sit at in the cafeteria, where to work for the summer in this community full of opportunities, all while our parents and teachers guided us, helping us get back on course if we made a mistake. The rest of our lives will be different. There will be no one to tell us where we have to be or what we have to do. This is when the choice truly becomes ours.
We all began our lives full of “big” decisions this year when we decided where we were going to be when September rolls around next year. Some decided to leave the community, choosing to explore new corners of the world while others will remain here, as Boothbay adjusts from a childhood hometown to a place for work and a family of their own. Even though this seemed like the most stressful decision yet, we still all received input and assistance from our incomparable guidance team, teachers, friends, parents.
No matter where we end up, I think everyone in the audience can attest to the fact that sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. Regardless of whether or not we made the right choice there will be adversities, new challenges for us to face. And, as hard as we all, including myself, may try, we cannot control the world around us … but there are a few things we can control. One: the ability to get through each struggle with our heads held high, keep the lessons we many have learned and persevere, remember that it will pass. Two: always choose to be kind. I know I am not the only one who has walked into Mr. Liberti’s room and been told ‘smile, it will make you and those around you happier’ and he is right – one smile goes a long way. There is never a time in your life where being cruel and malicious will get you where you want to be. Three: surround yourself with others who encourage you, who challenge you, who never use their own success to undermine yours. And be that person for the people around you. Be prideful, not boastful. Each accomplishment that Page mentioned are just the beginning for you.
So, to those who have made this first trial a success, we all thank you. Parents, you have always been there to make us brush our teeth, wake us up, drive us to every dance and practice without complaints. Your endless support may seem unacknowledged as we run out the door without a hug good-bye, but on this day, I think it is important for each of us to stand back for a moment and appreciate the sacrifice you have made in order to send us on to follow our dreams next year. You make each choice easier, except for the one to leave home next year. Teachers, you have guided us through each class with patience and wisdom, helping us when we come running into your room complaining about a grade, or demanding that you help us envision out our entire life plans. Your passion for your respective subjects has inspired each of us to pursue something we truly love.
To my class, I wish nothing but the best for each of you. We have completed the first experiment successfully. Don’t forget to appreciate those in your life who have steered you in the right direction in order to get here. Most of all, give yourself some credit, for each night spend slaving over homework, every question you asked in class, and for each and every choice you made these last four years. They paid off! So, class of 2018, I leave you with the words we began our first day of kindergarten with: Throughout all of your endeavors in life, remember, it has the potential to be great, the choice is yours.