Senior Breakfast Speech by Maddy Stern ’14

Editor’s Note: Senior Maddy Stern presented the following speech to her class on Sept. 8, 2013 during orientation.

First off, congrats. We finally made it—senior year. Every other grade on campus basically wants to be us right now. Simply by virtue of being seniors we are in a position to make a large impact on the school; people look up to us (physically and metaphorically). Some days it may not feel like what you do is important, but it is essential to remember that even if you only impact one person, you’ve made a difference.

Everything we’ve come to love and will continue to love about Williston doesn’t just happen, we make it happen. We paint the lion; we put embarrassing posters all over the school for people’s birthdays; we throw the best dances; we are proctors, captains, tutors, artists, leaders—but these are all just parts of a much larger whole. Just as you shouldn’t make the mistake to categorize the people you will interact with, Williston isn’t simply a label, or a shield. It is the sum of all our individual parts.

Williston is dynamic and now it’s our chance to shape it. But what we do this year won’t just shape our memories of Williston, but how Williston remembers us. Now is the time to determine through leadership, class events, and our example how we will be remembered collectively. Already we are a class of amazing individuals; we have stars on the sports field and stage, leaders in the classroom and in clubs, world travelers, and people dedicated to making our own community a better place. I know I’m proud to be part of a class like ours.

But really think how do you want people to remember the class of 2014. How do you want the juniors, sophomores, freshmen, faculty to talk about us once were gone?

We can spend our last Williston days dreading the common app, stressing about college, or letting senioritis take over. Or we can take initiative, come up with a cool senior project and follow through, plan an amazing dance, organize a holiday toy drive, sit with someone new at lunch, or connect with proctees.

Once our time at Williston is over, we can’t redo it. I know this sounds like the cliché “no regrets.” But right now is the beginning of an end, our chance to enjoy everything we’ve worked and waited for. Leaving high school isn’t some obscure “someday” any more. It’s our reality.

With our attention fixed on the future, it can be hard to think about now. It’s far easier to say that something doesn’t matter when we won’t be here next year to deal with rule changes, or different activities. But just because something doesn’t personally affect us, doesn’t mean it isn’t important in defining Williston. We are in a position to advocate for the student body, to change things and set new traditions.

For those of you who’ve been here a while you know that right or wrong every class gets a label. What do you want ours to be? Now’s the time to decide. We can be the class that was at every sports game, and play, the class that got stuff done, the class that knew how to have fun, and was kind—to not just each other, but underclassmen and staff too—a class that wasn’t just amazing individually but collectively, a class with big ideas and a bigger success rate, the first class in Williston history to reach 100 percent giving to the annual fund, a class that knew how to work together. So that once were gone and people ask about us the response is immediate and positive with maybe just a touch of awe.

We’ve got a year. Let’s make it happen.

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