Category Archives: Student Speaker

Senior Dinner Speech by Emmett O’Malley ’15

Hey! It’s dinner time!

Firstly, a huge shout out to the best Class Dean and Cross Country coach in the land—Ms. Talbot a.k.a Mrs. Talbot-Syfu.  a.k.a Ms. Talfu.  a.k.a Sybot

Frankly, it’s surreal to be chatting at a dinner without my mouth full of food, but I guess my mom finally got her way in terms of my learning something about etiquette. Anyway, I feel as if my convocation speech was a tad on the Darth Vader side of the force —Socrates, Success, Summing Up, etc. That’s why I now feel this neurotic compulsion to venture away from my dark side in an attempt to bring some balance to the universe. Fortunately, I didn’t actually sound like old, wheezy Darth earlier today, which, by the way, sounds a lot like Sameer’s snoring.

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Baccalaureate Reading by Bennett Wheeler ’14

Editor’s note: The following was presented by Bennett Wheeler ’14 during the Baccalaureate Service on Saturday, May 24, 2014.

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool,
To weep is to risk being called sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self.
To place your ideas and your dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naïve.
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure
But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, and has nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, or live.
Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.


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.

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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?

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Baccalaureate Reading by Persis Ticknor-Swanson ’14

It Couldn’t Be Done

By Edgar Albert Guest (Read by Persis Ticknor-Swanson ’14) 

Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done

      But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
      Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
      At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
      And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
      Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
      There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
      The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
      Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
      That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.