My Daughter’s Graduation Speech

My daughter was chosen to be the student speaker representing her graduating class. She did a knock-out job. ?Her goal was “to be profound, and funny, all in 2 and a half pages.” ?That’s not an easy task! ?I asked her permission to reprint the speech here and she was happy to share it with you all.

Clara Everhart’s graduation speech, 20 June 2008:

I like to imagine that the graduating class of 2008 is standing in a grocery store.?The light is artificial, the walls are cinderblock, and we keep finding ourselves herded from place to place by the ringing of a bell.

Cruising the aisles, we’ve picked up what we think we’ll need, what we’ll want to have, what we think we should have.??We’ve picked up cans, carefully examining labels, thinking, Hmmm. Do I really need more English???Because I’ve already got this in here, and this. Ah! Independent Science Research! Alright! Ah, I’ll get them both.

Then there’s produce. ?Life lessons, mostly.??Fresh batches of Enthusiasm is required for success, Lies are sticky, Friends are precious.?These and others are offered up daily; sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter, sometimes savory, but always memorable.

So we’ve each filled our carts to the brim with what we want.??We’ve even started munching on our food in line at the register (procrastination tastes like lemons; nostalgia, like Twizzlers.)?We’ve all made our choices.??But this is no ordinary grocery store.?When we reach the register, we won’t be paying a bill not yet.?Someday, the bill for what we’ve purchased will come due.??Then we’ll know just how much this cost us.??Little???Lots? Will we get cash back, or owe more than we think is fair???We’ll find out.

Now, all we have to do is take our receipt, our diploma. The tangible evidence of all we’ve taken from this store, and sprint towards the parking lot.

Maybe this isn’t how you’ve seen high school.?It’s not the best of analogies. How do I compare the education, experiences, extra-curricular activities, and friendships that have shaped who I am and who I will become with a bunch of bananas???(Bananas being, of course, something I would have purchased, had I been in a grocery store and not a school.)

I’ve spent four years with the Class of 2008 my peers and am still inspired, encouraged, and challenged by the brilliant young adults who sit here today.

We have all been shaped (whether we want to admit it or not) by the teachers and peers who have surrounded us these four years.?Teachers who have valiantly attempted to teach us things.?These, who have molded and shaped our characters like the gooey clay that we are, have left thumbprints and bits of algebra all over our future.?The next time we need to define metonymy, we’ll think of an English teacher who taught us well. (Metonymy being, of course, like the white house spoke, NOT all hands on deck.)?

In my four years at Dominion High School, I have walked down these halls and seen future doctors, forensic anthropologists, aerospace engineers, authors, artists, teachers, evil over lords, and pop stars.

Friends, acquaintances, that kid I see in the hallways sometimes: you’ve all impacted the four years we’ve spent here together.?We’re all just doing what we do, picking and choosing off the shelves what Dominion has to offer.

As I turn to face my own future, stocked with plenty of English and just enough math to keep me from getting scurvy, I am proud to stand hand in hand with such fantastic peers.??I know that this class –my class — will be one to shape the world, whether it be in the form of the cure for Popcorn Lung, a Broadway musical, a fantastic novel, or simply being truly Titan out there in the real world.

by Clara Everhart, 20 June 2008


3 responses to “My Daughter’s Graduation Speech”

  1. ruth everhart Avatar
    ruth everhart

    Thanks for your kind words, Serena!

  2. Serena Henderson Avatar
    Serena Henderson

    I was there too. My son was in her graduating class and I thought she did an awesome job. From one proud parent to another congratulations and go ahead and brag all you like, you’ve earned.

  3. Definitely a cool speech. I think she definitely accomplished what she was after: funny yet profound! : ) Congrats to you, Ruth! You have every reason to be proud!

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