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Graduation Speech

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To the County High School Class of 2012: As you sit in front of me, I know what most of you are thinking at the moment. There are those who are already pondering about what life without high school will be like; those who are debating whether or not to tell your crush tonight about your whispers of adoration you’ve secretly held for four years; some simply want to get out of that ungodly chair, get that thing that isn’t really a diploma but only tells you when to pick up the thing, and then be the first one on the green bus to the grad party — you know who you are. And the rest, well, the rest aren’t even paying attention, you’re thinking, “Great, here comes one of the valedictorian speakers. Next up: a boring speech straight out of the pits of scholarly hell.” And it’s OK, I don’t mind — that sort of thing comes with the territory. But tonight, I ask that you give me a chance to break that stereotype so that I may address you in the full splendor that you deserve after 13 grueling years of work. I do not want to be known as your “valedictorian” as I stand here, c’mon guys, there is no time left to place labels on people anymore, instead I ask that you accept me as one of your peers — and as a man who will enjoy becoming a graduate alongside you.

Over the last three days I’ve been through two drafts of this speech, one dealing with the future and the other dealing with the past. I had the usual “we are entering a new chapter in our lives” spiel, and then, because everyone pressured me to “make it funny,” I followed this with some witticisms on flatulence and going to jail; and then going to jail for flatulence; and then flatulence inside a jail with a guy named Red. Needless to say, I ditched those speeches.

Twenty-four ho...


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...e that comes from the reflective mood of the evening. Enjoy the silence while you can for it is anticlimax you weren’t expecting after you finished LHS. Capture the silence as an aspect of taste. Remember it.

Finally, take a deep breath, and smile at that wonderful smell: the aroma of relief. After years of following the path of public schooling, I invite you to welcome the liberation that comes from graduation. This sugary aroma only comes once in a lifetime. Capture it with your sense of smell. Remember it in the years to come.

As our time together draws to a close, I leave LHS with no further anecdotes of wisdom or quotes dealing with success; only the sincere hope that you immersed yourself in the essence of commencement. Everybody, we’ll all be graduates by the time we leave tonight. Let’s enjoy it. Congratulations to the Lee High School Class of 2006.


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