Senior Dinner Speech by Maddy Stern ’14

So I’ve already spoken to you a bunch, and as soon as I realized how much I would be I had a somewhat frightening realization. There was absolutely no way I could come up with three or four life-changing, inspirational speeches, in fact I’d be lucky to come up with half of one. But after a couple stressful, caffeine-fueled 2 a.m. writing sessions, I finally understood something: Just as every speech can’t be life changing, not everyday at Williston is going to be the best.

There will be some days when getting up at 7 a.m. to finish the physics problem set seems impossible and when you don’t think you could possibly write one more supplemental essay. We’ve been here anywhere from 18 years to two weeks, but that’s not important, that’s not what defines us. We are all seniors.

What separates us from the rest of the student body is how far we’ve already come. We’ve survived semester exams, a school-wide blackout in 2011, AP exams, glass plates in the dining hall. We now know who will let you break dress code, how much homework you can actually do in a free period—and some of us have probably memorized the Button Speech.

Senior year is kind of like our victory lap. It’s the last time we get to have the full Williston experience, before we make the long anticipated transition from students to alumni. That shift will be manifested in many different ways: senior spirit week, no spring assessments, senior skip day, and obviously, graduation.

But I have been asked to speak about a shift to alumni we can begin making now, and simply by doing so create Williston history. As many of you know the Senior Class Gift Campaign is our part in Williston’s Annual fund. What you may not realize is that each and every one of us benefits from the annual fund—without it many of us wouldn’t be here.

We already owe Williston a lot. Think of all the ultimate Frisbee games, sold-out dance concerts, packed hockey games, art openings, and Mt. Toms ice cream cones you would be missing out on if not for the generosity of alumni. And, true, next year we won’t be here for that. So, in its stead, we can make a gift, giving some other small freshman the opportunity to experience everything we have loved so much.

Making a gift is how we honor both our time here and its brevity. This year we also have the opportunity to add to our legacy at Williston by being the only class ever to reach 100 percent participation. It’s as simple as giving a quarter, a dollar, or swiping your Sammy card. A minute of our time for a place in Williston history.

Soon we’ll all be getting envelopes in our mailboxes. Look for them. While I know it would be impossible to place a monetary value on your time here at Williston, all we’re aiming for is a dollar.

Thank you and I can’t wait for a great senior year.




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