First off, let me say thank you to everyone in attendance for being here tonight and thank you to the Class of 2014 for selecting me as your speaker. It is an honor and I offer my sincere thanks for this opportunity. Here is your first lesson for your journey through life, say thank you. It is the most important thing you can do.
Well, that and not eating yellow snow; that is your second piece of advice, do not eat yellow snow. If I was an English teacher I might make some metaphor for the yellow snow representing the harmful pollution ruining the innocent beauty of the natural world and by “eating” it you are engaging in the mass production of carbon fuels adding to the slow demise of our delicate planet. But I am a science teacher, so I honestly mean, do not each snow that is yellow. I can’t tell you how often this piece of advice has come in handy.
Enough with the direct advice, I do not want this to be a speech where I tell you everything you will need to know for the rest of your life. Because it doesn’t matter what I say tonight; you won’t remember any of it. If there is one thing I learned from teaching physics to seniors, it’s that it takes more than one lecture for things to sink in. I do have a lot of advice to share, but I find a big audience is not the best way to share it. Even though adults (am I an adult yet?) love telling you how to live your life, I will try to refrain. Therefore this will not be a speech to motivate or inspire you to achieve your goals, do what you love, or to enjoy the small things in life (like the salt and pepper shakers). I just hope to entertain you for the time being, make you laugh, and try to hide advice in the stories I tell.
Editor’s note: Williston’s Brenna Quirk ’15 created a new installation piece for [SHOWCASE], a group art show in Eastworks on May 10-17, 2014. [SHOWCASE], which features the work of 23 Williston students, is being held in Suite 136 and is curated by Gabriel Jacobson ’15. Below, Ms. Quirk explains the concept behind her piece.
The piece I’ve created is a pretty big piece (almost 6.5 by 4.5 foot), which is actually made up of nine smaller pieces. I created silhouettes of the profiles of the faces of myself and eight other people who are important to me. I then filled the silhouettes with an abstract black and white design using pen and ink which varies slightly from piece to piece.
The silhouettes also each have thicker black lines extending to the edge of the page. Once these were all hung up, I used yarn on the wall running between the pieces to connect these lines, and each connection represents a connection between the people featured in the silhouettes.
I came up with my idea while thinking of the theme “human relationships.” Originally I planned only to create three pieces, but once I got going I was inspired to go further and create a much larger, more complicated piece.
I mainly wanted to include my art in the show because it was a new opportunity to show my art in a new place. I haven’t had a chance to display my artwork anywhere besides the Grubbs Gallery at the end of a trimester of Arts Intensive, so when this opportunity presented itself, I took it. I am excited to reach a larger audience with my work. I also created something different than what I usually create, so the whole experience was new and inspiring.
I hope that my piece makes the audience think more about relationships in their life. I’d love for them to ponder who they might include on their own abstract map of relationships. I want to evoke thought about the complexity and variation in relationships and in people, which I tried to get across through the varying design and the tangled web that the yarn creates.
Editor’s Note: Richard Monopoli ’89 presented the following speech during an Upper School assembly on April 30, 2014. Read the article about the talk here.
I want to thank Bob Hill, Eric Yates, Sharon Davenport for letting me join you guys today. I really appreciate it. As Bob noted, I graduated 25 years ago this spring and my 25th Reunion is really special because my niece, Miss Alexandra Lewis, is a six-year senior this year. Williston has played a big part in my family’s life, and we are really attached to this school, we love this place, but I’ll get back to that in a minute.
So when I found out that I could to come speak to you all, I asked myself what would I have liked to know when I was a senior. If I could go back in time and talk to myself as senior what would I say? Particularly if I only had 10 minutes. That’s a really tough question…but I’ll give it a shot.
I NEED A VOLUNTEER…I need a guy to play me in 1989….
You will experience great success over the next 25 years and you will experience great challenge. Success is easy, enjoy it. How we respond to life’s challenges though, is what distinguishes us.