Hello, class of 2013! And, welcome to all the parents and families who have come to support us today. Our parents are the people who know us the best in the whole world—even if that seems hard to believe, it's true. They've helped us become the people we are today, and they've done a great job. After all, we wouldn’t be standing here without them! So, thank you, parents.
Today—June, 11th, 2009, is the day that we, as a class, are going to graduate the eighth grade. Of course, we all know that. But do we really understand what it all means? The official definition of graduation is to complete a class or course of study. That’s it—the whole definition Not very impressive, am I right? To me, graduation means more than that. It means growing, it means changing, it means moving on. School has a huge impact in that, but a lot of it is just us as people. Today, the ceremony might seem like it's all happening too fast, or, it might seem like it's never going to end, but all our lives we'll remember it—and that's what counts. Our three years of middle school have been a time to remember, and the memories are what we are going to take with us our whole lives—not some diploma or report card.
Do you remember how it all started? That warm June day in fifth grade? It was the day we had all been looking forward to for weeks: the tour of the middle school.
We went to the school, trying not to make eye contact with the huge eighth graders, and grinning at our siblings who pretended they didn't know us. Little did we know that three years later, we would be the ones ignoring our brothers and sisters. We watched SBNN, walked around the track with 6th and 7th grade mentors who seemed insanely cool, and peeked into classrooms all around the building.
We left our field trip excited for what was to come, and spent the whole summer talking about our teams and friends and field trips and everything we knew about 6th grade—trying to prepare ourselves as much as we could.
On the first day of school, we had the place to ourselves. Wearing brand new clothes and shiny shoes, we nervously went from class to class, hoping that we would be able to open our lockers, and that none of the teachers would assign homework. That first day, we immediately huddled with friends and shot apprehensive glances at the strangers. But after a few weeks, we opened up. We traveled to New York on a five day field trip to Nature's Classroom, and came back braver, more confident, and with tons of new friends. Before we knew it, it was June, and to our surprise, we'd survived our first year of middle school.
The next August, we entered the school the day after the new sixth graders did. This time, we were braver—but not much. 7th grade began. None of us were that little anymore—even though the new sixth graders were. I mean, were we really that annoying? And, on the other side of the scale, the eighth graders weren't as huge. Well, most of them, at least. We climbed Mount Philo, saw some great performances at the Flynn, and swam at Oakledge Park. On Intrepid, we dragged boats over ice while studying Ernest Shackleton and competed to control ancient Japan during Social Studies. We experimented with eggs in science, and explored numbers from all possible angles in math. And when we came back to school after a long, hot summer, we knew what to expect.
Or we thought we did.
8th grade was different. We were the oldest, the wisest, and unquestionably the coolest.
When we walked down the hall, sixth graders got out of our way and seventh graders felt cool when we talked to them. Instead of being crammed in the cafeteria in the mornings before class, we got to chill in the lobby. We got the best lunch time, the most exciting field trips, and the most freedom.
We went to see the Mayhem Poets rap at the Flynn, took on the roles of an entire courtroom to solve a murder, made magazines and wrote short stories, and figured out what unknown chemicals were with a whole bunch of experiments. We got to the Great Escape and yesterday, we relaxed at Quarry Hill. It was a great year.
We grew as teams and as a grade, but more importantly as people—figuratively and literally. We became smarter, more confident, and of course, taller.
Together, we listened as the guidance counselors told us about the high school and together we pored over the seemingly endless lists of classes. We turned in our worn, wrinkled, class sheets nervously, but a couple months later, all our worries were gone.
Today, we will graduate together—in a matter of minutes—leaving behind a school, a grade, our team, and some great, great teachers. Together we will enter the high school next fall, and in four years we’ll graduate: the class of 2013.
Senior year will be just like this one, but the intensity will be higher. We'll worry about college applications and SAT scores and leaving behind our homes. But, there will be prom and more field trips and celebrations to look forward too—and the good things will overrule the bad.
Will it all be fun? Will it all be easy? No, I'm sure it won't. I mean seriously, the SATs? But hey, that's life, right? And in the end, it'll make us stronger—at least I hope so!
So it's time, today to end the second part of our education and enter the third. It's time to leave behind socials for prom, say goodbye to A and B teams and be introduced to varsity, and most of all, time to go from the middle school community that we're familiar with, that we love, and that we are in charge of, and cross the parking lot to the bigger, busier, and frankly, scarier high school, where we will be freshmen...aka fresh meat.
But high school is going to be awesome—I'm sure of that already. And, I'm sure that we can handle all of it: the teachers, the seniors, and of course, the homework.
So, it's time for our graduation. Here, now, today—we're ready, even though we might not know it. Let's go, and let's make today a day that we'll remember forever.