Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Class of 2010 in Oz

This was a speech meant to be given sometime during the graduation festivities this year. Sadly, it got cut, as there was no proper time to give it. Still, I'm very proud of this speech, and I feel its one everyone in our class and beyond should hear. Enjoy, and feel free to leave any comments.

Graduation is, of course, a time of joy and congratulations. It is a time when we can all take a breath of relief knowing that tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives. We are all continuing on to exciting new ventures; some of us moving on to different cities, some to different states, and, for a few of us, on to a different continent.

While we are all both excited and a bit nervous about these different worlds we have to explore, graduation is also a time of reflection on four years past and the last chance we have as a class to come together. In these past four years, we have grown together as a unique family known as the Class of 2010, and today, the feeling is bittersweet as that family breaks apart.

But like many classes that have come before us, the Class of 2010 will remain remarkable for years to come, and while challenges ahead may worry and sometimes scare us, the inherent qualities present in every person in this class will allow us to rise to those challenges and make our mark on the world.

When thinking about what makes our class special, I thought of L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The inspiration for classic musicals like The Wizard of Oz and, more recently, The Wiz and Wicked, Oz is a tale of one girl, Dorothy Gale, and her attempts to find her way back home after being thrown into a mysterious land with no friends or allies besides her little dog, Toto. Throughout her journey, she meets new friends all seeking the titular wizard of Oz in hopes of finding something they lack. What Dorothy’s companions lack is exactly what our class has in droves.

Dorothy’s first companion, the Scarecrow, desperately seeks a brain. The St. Michael’s Class of 2010 is intelligent, well-versed, and full of wit. Walking down the senior hallway this year, the average person might be shocked at the high caliber of conversations happening between friends. No matter what the topic of choice, this was not a class that relied on the kind of dialogue you’d see in another high school. From world issues to independent music to football season statistics, the Class of 2010 knew what we were talking about and were nothing if not eloquent and loquacious in our speech, a signal of our greater acumen. However, this class also avoided becoming hypercompetitive and intelligent to the point of arrogance. It is a group both elevated and moderate in brainpower, and those are important qualities rarely seen together.

Another of Dorothy’s companions was the Cowardly Lion, who desperately wanted to find his courage. From our student athletes to actors, you would find no shortage of bravery in each person of this class. If there was a risk to be found, like applying to a college you had only an outside chance of getting into, or taking an advanced class that would require more work but might yield greater rewards, this class took the chance boldly and with great bravado. Going the safe route was something never seen in this group, because anything less than our best wasn’t acceptable. The courage of this class is and should forever be seen as nothing short of astounding.

Diehard Wizard of Oz fans might have noticed that I skipped Dorothy’s second companion, the Tin Man. I did so because what he sought from the Wizard is what is most important to this class: heart. Our class has heart in every sense of the word. Filled with love for one another that we explored on retreats, especially on Kairos, the members of this class have a mutual respect and admiration for one another that is rarely seen among high school students. Filled with hope for the future, our hearts never deflated in the face of greater challenges. The Class of 2010’s heart is its best quality, because whenever we weren’t the best in other areas, we still held on to our faith, determination, and love for one another.

This class will be remembered for so many reasons, but it is with both excitement and sadness that we now graduate and part from one another. We leave behind families and friends, as well as memories of a high school experience that will hold special significance for everyone throughout their lives. But to the families, who fear losing their beloved children to college and worry about their futures, take solace in knowing that each student in this class has the courage, the brains, and the heart of Dorothy’s traveling companions. And don’t forget the ending of the story: even after all that traveling and all those adventures, Dorothy ultimately knew that there was simply no place like home.

I just want to thank each and every one of the members of the Class of 2010 for being the greatest class anyone could hope to be a part of. I'll miss everybody when I'm in Los Angeles next year.

2 comments:

Simon said...

Awesome.

Kevin said...

Hey, thanks Simon! :)