by Nan Ding ’14
Originally presented during all-school assembly on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.
Hey, guys. I’m Nan. And I’m an Asian.
Suppose all of you guys don’t know me yet, but you know I’m from the old and mysterious Eastern hemisphere.
So, you guys may think, well….
Good at science
A brilliant math student
Not very athletic
Well, yeah. Most of them are true for me. But those are just the stereotypes of Asian people.
Recently, I went to the Asian American conference and many Asians sort of reached an agreement that—Americans are kind of weird.
By Kyle Hanford, English Teacher
Originally presented during Senior Dinner on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.
Good evening. To begin, I want to thank Mr. Hill, Ms. Sage, Mr. Martin, the dining staff, and the wait staff for tonight’s meal. Nothing was left to chance, and it was excellent.
To the senior class, I want to say that I am both humbled and honored that you have chosen me to speak to you this evening. I think all educators go through moments in their careers when they wonder if they are making a difference, if they are reaching students, if they matter. And to be honest, when you are new to a school, all you are trying to do is to not screw up bad enough so they tell you that you can’t come back.
And since I’m being honest tonight, I can tell you that of those of you in the audience who had me the first day of classes this year, I was just trying to get through the day without too many eye rolls, groans, and “Where’d they get THIS guy?” comments. Think of it from my position: you are returning to a school that you went to for one year as a post graduate. It’s been 15 years since you’ve left and you are facing a group of confident and bright seniors, some of whom have been at the school for six years, about to teach them about “the essay.” Of my two senior classes in the fall, I can only come to three conclusions: one: You really liked me; two: you are SUPERB liars, or three: I completely duped you.
Presented by Erin Davey during a Cultural Identity Event on January 13, 2012 in Williston Northampton School’s Cox Room.
by Shel Silverstein
Small as a peanut
Big as a giant,
We’re all the same size
When we turn off the light.
Red black or orange,
Yellow or white
We all look the same
When we turn off the light.
So maybe the way
To make everything right
Is for God to just reach out
And turn off the light!
A favorite writer and philosopher of mine and so many others, Shel Silverstein, had his priorities aligned in such a fashion that one may not recognize where and when his most important life lessons were staring you in the face. On one page he speaks of a “Flying Festoon” while on another he speaks of a little boy and an old man conversing over their common troubles. How and when are we to understand or recognize when some of life’s most influential teachings are searching for us to find their meaning?
While lacking a persuasive religious analysis to Silverstein’s poem, No Difference, I can certainly speak to its ability to hold true in my life and even yours. While we are consistently faced with cultural conformity and societal norms, we are more often presented with difference. The only problem lies within our own abilities to not just acknowledge them but to appreciate them. I was once victim to such naivety.
Presented by Hannah Lee ’15 during a Cultural Identity Event on Friday, January 13, 2012 in Williston Northampton School’s Cox Room.
I went to Canada at the start of 6th grade, by myself, as a homestay student. For those who don’t know, being a homestay student means that I live with another Canadian family in a house while my parents are still back in Korea. I spoke literally no English at that time.
This transfer from Korea to Canada, home to an unknown world, and family to strangers was a very, very tough one. I remember my first few days in Canada, when I didn’t even have enough confidence to get homesick, when I was too nervous to cry or complain. The blurring moments of confusion for the first few weeks is still unimaginable. I couldn’t call my mom because I didn’t know where the phone was in the house, and couldn’t generate that simple question, “Can I use the phone?” to this foreigner living with me. I could never get used to the food always so cheesy and greasy. Cold milk in the morning made my stomach hurt all day.
Delivered at The Williston Northampton School’s 170th Commencement on June 4, 2011
When I see my granddaughter Emilia graduating today, I guess, like all the parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins who are here, I’m brimming with love.
You can’t know how much we love you kids. You make us wonderfully happy just by being who you are. You’re the buds of spring. You’re still tasting parts of the world for the first time. You remind us of the days in our own lives when the world was a squishy grape we were biting into for the first time, and we were the first ones ever to feel such an amazing sensation. We know that you have ahead of you a universe of amazing experiences – and the most amazing of them, some day, may be looking into the eyes of your own young people who will choke you up with the beauty of their pure hearts. And knowing that gives us pleasure, too.
This is a big moment for all of us today. In a few minutes, we’ll go through a ritual that signals your moving on to greater maturity. And the strange thing at a time like this, is how much people our age want to give people your age advice. I don’t know why we do that. You don’t do it.