Hello classmates, faculty, staff, family, and friends, I thought I’d change up my look for today and wear something a little less flashy, seeing as I didn’t want to steal the spotlight from my classmates. However congratulations from me, and my dog. She couldn’t make it today because she had important business today. Babka is sweet, and very loving, but she also gave me the scar I wear on my face today. I personally don’t know many people who have scars so prominently placed, and my scar has of course faded and healed, but it will never fully heal, and it will never fully fade. Sometimes my scar is a bright red, and other days it’s practically invisible.
Our greatest sources of joy can also be sources of pain. I remember posting on social media the second it happened, “dog scratched me LOL ” with a mirror selfie of blood running down my face. I brought up my story of my dog because it’s personal to me, and it has become something I’ve learned from. Rather than letting my scar, a source of pain define my memories and relationship with my dog, I instead look at my scar as a sign of love, and a way to remember my relationship with my dog. I understand a story about my dog scratching me and our entire high school career are a little different from each other, however what I mean to portray with a rather frivolous story is that school isn’t always made of happy memories. As the graduating class of 2022, we did not let unusual and at times unfamiliar conditions affect us. When teachers or students alike were out for weeks on end, it felt like the scar would only ever deepen, making it hard for us to stay on task. However we continued to hand in homework, we managed to learn our material, and continued on as though it was second nature. Sometimes we made mistakes, or sometimes unfortunate things happened like Mr. Van Heusen wearing Birkins for all of fourth quarter, but similar to a scar, we will always heal. We passed the class, maybe we dropped, but either way, we learn from the experience, marking the closing of our scar.. Even if you can’t remember “soh cah toa”, or who Newton was, or why a dog that’s never even bit its food would scratch its owner, you still carry the experience, and the reminder that you’ve persevered, and you’ve continued onwards. Change from these experiences is individualized and expressed differently by all of us. I learned from my AP Literature class that there isn’t always one right answer, besides on the AP Exams, or from PIG that I should never roll my back windows down if I get pulled over. We actually put our resourcefulness to use when Mr. Przedwiecki was out for two weeks, and instead of giving up and sitting around with substitutes, we held google meets online to talk with him, and continued to work.
Our memories at times can be pungent reminders, like a bad grade, or an assignment that gives you a seemingly unreasonable amount of grief. However, we don’t let our past mistakes have the power to dictate our futures. A memory is a memory because it’s in our past, we instead learn from memories, even cherish them. We didn’t allow a year of computer screens to ruin our last year of high school, we did what was right, and what allowed ourselves to explore previously ruled out options. We all went through high school differently, but we all got through it. We continued to move forward, and in my case walk around Collin’s Park a few times with an incredibly cute and eager dog. We’ve dedicated time to college, some of us are ready to move in now, others haven’t even looked at their college email. Some of us have decided otherwise, making memories without the aid of school anymore. However we’ve learned to make choices to avoid scars in the same place, so rather than counting scars, we will be amassing memories. However either way we, the graduates of 2022, define ourselves, by our choices. By allowing our memories to flow by us, remembering the pain of a bad choice, or feeling the joy of a good choice in everything we do, we are able to make decisions that exercise our power to dictate our future.