Baccalaureate Remarks by Elizabeth Calderone ’14

Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh

I’m Elizabeth Calderone, the senior class treasurer. Many of you know me as Liz. Williston has been a magical place for many of us. To best describe the time we’ve spent here, the allegory that comes to mind is the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Many of us know the movie The Wizard of Oz, even if we haven’t read the book. this novel was just the first of 14 in L. Frank Baum’s Oz series. Much happens after the movie is over.

In the Land of Oz, Dorothy and her companions had to deal with…
Lions, Tigers, and Bears (“Oh My”).
In our journey, we’ve had to deal with…
Homework, Papers, Exams (“Oh My”)
History, Calculus, English (“Oh My”)
Activities, AP Tests, and Mr. Gunn (“Oh My”)… and so much more.

But now, we’ve done it! Our yellow brick road is behind us. We have reached the Emerald City. We now have new adventures to look forward to. This is just the first in our series. How are we supposed to envision its end?

Well, it’s just a transition.

I wrote the following poem to verbalize the closing of this chapter in our lives and the opening of another. It’s entitled “Not the End.”

“Not the End”

White chairs. Green grass. White tent.
White dresses. Green trees. Blue tears.
Black robes. White smiles. Red roses.
Loud bagpipes. Blue programs. Mr. Bagley.
Some speeches. Lots of clapping. Dark suits.
Rows upon rows of faces.
There’s no place like home.

“Everything has to come to an end, sometime”
L. Frank Baum said so. But does it really?
Our yellow brick road must come to an end.
With that white tent, those white chairs, our white dresses.
The book is ending. On the final page, we rest.
The binding is closing and all that’s left is to get that piece of paper and
Go home.
There’s no place like home, is there?

But for years, this…has been our home.
So remember the red roses. The black robes. And the white smiles.
Look around, for it will soon become a clouded memory.
There’s no place like home.
We didn’t take this journey alone. We had each other.
Together we found our heart, our brain, our courage.
Like the Wizard once said, we’ve had those attributes all along.
They were coaxed out by our mentors—
Our teachers, our family, those who cared.
There’s no place like home.

Even after the chairs and tent are folded up and stored away,
Recall the scarecrow, the tin man,
And remember OUR lion.
There’s no place like home.

We won’t forget struggles caused by flying monkeys.
But neither will we forget our helpers along the way.
Remember it all, but it’s not the final ending.
As we know,
L. Frank Baum did not stop with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,
Did he?
There’s no place like home.

No matter where we go
This will always be… our home.

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