This is a guest post from Ed Speaks editorial board member, Steve King. At our last meeting we were discussing commencement speeches and how difficult it must be to write an original version without relying on the same platitudes. Steve offered to try his hand at a different take on a goodbye speech, from the perspective of the actual high school building. Here’s what he came up with!
So this is it.
You know, every year I lose friends around this time.
It’s ironic because all of my students’ favorite month is June. See, I much prefer September when everyone is coming back. I have on a fresh coat of paint in some of my rooms, my floors are nice and shiny, that odd smell in the locker room is gone…But anyway, I’m rambling. I do that when I’m having a hard time saying what I want to say.
Four years – they just flew by. You and me, we’ve been together through it all, haven’t we? Classes, dances, concerts, art shows, basketball games, drama productions, pep rallies…friendship. I’ve seen you at your best, and yes, there have been a few hiccups along the way. But hey, that’s what life is all about. Through the good and the bad, it has been an honor to be part of your journey.
I watched you grow from a timid freshman to a skilled senior. Hey, remember your first day when you walked in through my doors? I still remember how nervous you were! I watched your fumble with the lock on your locker. I watched as you tried to find where your next class was. This place can definitely be confusing at first. But you figured it out. You took it one class period at a time, one semester at a time, one year at a time and now look at you, ready to graduate in a few days.
I’ll remember how happy you would be when you would get a good grade on a test.
I’ll remember the laughter you and your friends would share in the cafeteria at lunch – not to mention all of the drama and gossip.
I’ll remember your dreams and the joy you had when you took another step closer to achieving them. Don’t lose that passion. It will serve you well down the road. Your future is in good hands – yours. Make the most of it.
I often wonder what happens to the students when they leave my hallways. I never get the chance to follow up with them. See, my roots are firmly in place in this town. My place is here. But you – well, your journey is just beginning. You get the chance to grow. You get to go to college, and expand your mind and learn all kinds of stuff. You get the chance to travel, see the world and meet new friends. You get the chance to make an impact on the world. What an incredible time in your life!
Well, it’s almost time for us to go our separate ways. As you begin to search for new tomorrows, don’t forget the yesterdays. Don’t forget the good times you spent within my walls.
Remember the people who made this place special to you.
Remember your guidance counselors for helping you get to this day.
Remember the custodians and cafeteria workers who helped keep this place clean for you.
Remember the teachers who gave you your thirst for knowledge.
Remember the lessons you learned, both in and out of the classroom.
It all helped to make you the person you are today. Make sure these people and life lessons stay within the walls of your mind, just as you will always stay within the mind of my walls.
So long my friend.