Baccalaureate Remarks by Maddy Stern ’14

My name is Maddy Stern and I have had the pleasure of being the president of this class.

In all my other speeches, I tried to avoid clichés, attempted to create some new piece of writing. But graduation is a time for clichés, the moment to reminisce in the most painfully stereotypical way possible. To listen to the songs that make you cry, and watch the movies you bonded over freshmen year, to look through old yearbooks and laugh at the horrible haircuts you had and think about all you’ve gone through together.

The theme of this speech is supposed to be transitions, about leaving Williston, about moving on. But honestly I can’t even think about that, even though in less than 24 hours we will graduate. I want to enjoy the last clichéd moments of high school with you all.

What happens tomorrow is inevitable, we will cross the stage and receive our diplomas and then we will officially be graduates. But leaving Williston is not a single moment. It wasn’t our last day of classes; it won’t be when we move out of dorms or pull out of the DSL for the last time. We have been leaving Williston since Convocation—and I’m not talking about senioritis. I mean all those times we had a last at Williston and didn’t notice: the last pre-class Dunkin’ run, the last time we turned in our math homework, the last time we left for Thanksgiving break, the last time we met with advisors, college counselors, or clubs. Subconciously, we have begun transitioning to the next phase of our lives.

Leaving a place or people isn’t a single event, it is a series of moments. We’ve been living our transition and now it’s our time to embrace the culmination and everything that comes with it: the relief, the nostalgia, the tears, and late nights attempting to relive what we’ve done.

But the reality is we can’t, and we shouldn’t want to. As Karen Salmansohn said, “What if I told you 10 years from now your life would be exactly the same? Would you be happy about this? Doubtful. So why are you afraid of change?” Embrace the unknown and go forward confident that what lies ahead is exactly what we need.

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