Graduation Speech - How to Say Nothing in Five Minutes

by Emily

High School Graduation Speech

I never thought much about who I am, what I like to do, or who I would like to be. Someone famous? Someone worthwhile? Or just someone to talk to? Everyday, I go through the same routine: wake up, go to school, sports practice, then go home and spend the rest of the night studying, doing homework. In the past twelve years, only once or twice did I ask myself why I was working so hard, why I always challenged myself up to this day. Surely I have never expected my hard effort to bring me here, speaking, but here I am.
I am no different from you. I struggle in the same classes. I play the same sports. I make the same friends. Yet, society feels the need to delegate select people to represent the entire class. I disagree. I cannot represent you. I only know how to represent myself. Portsmouth High School has refined who I am as an individual and a human being. Through personal experiences, I realized how unique I have become from others, and how time has refined how we see ourselves since freshmen year.
We no longer feel the awkwardness from the first day of freshmen year. We can navigate to classrooms and we can tolerate sitting in hour and a half blocks. We've sampled the cafeteria food and survived long enough to receive off campus privileges and parking permits. Now, we don?t have to worry about the seniors who towered over us freshmen year, because we have taken their place, as the next generation, standing tall and almighty. Each of us has found something special about PHS, whether it's that special lunch spot you sit at everyday, that club or sport that you have become dedicated to, or that one teacher, who you always got along with and who actually taught you something. What I've learned these past four years, is that high school is designed to prepare us for the future, to venture by ourselves, and to just do something.
While cleaning out my room the other day, I came across a quote from one of my favorite childhood authors. 'You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own.' Back in second grade, I didn't think much of what Dr. Seuss said. I was more focused on the fantastical pictures and creatures that accompanied the pages, but as I sat in my room, organizing my clutter of high school papers, projects and notes, I realized that Dr. Seuss spoke some truths, but he also spoke lies.
Yes, I have a brain, and feet in my shoes. In fact, most everyone has these too. But I am not alone. Under the guidance of my parents, my siblings, aunts-uncles-and friends, how could I be alone? How could the people I see every day in class or in the halls, just disappear? The truth is, when we move on from high school, we will never lose sight of each other. We will never forget. No matter which direction you steer, the four years of memories, friendship, and unity will always follow us.
So follow the road ahead, and continue to challenge yourselves to do something new, something daring, something selfless. Worry not about what you didn't do, but what you can do in the future. Wake up that couch potato, smell the coffee, and take advantage of the opportunities open to you in the real world. You are valuable, independent thinkers, with individual goals, so there's no reason to say you cannot, will not, or that you have no control over what you do.
I have already started my transition from high school. Cleaning my room, I am clearing shelves for a place to mark new adventures. Being with my classmates, I am savoring my last few moments before I go out and make new friends. This past week, my schedule has changed from studying for finals to practicing my public speaking skills. Giving a speech would be the last thing I would want to do, because I am scared out of my wits, but I am grateful for this opportunity, because I gain experience, expertise, and a chance to do something worthwhile. And now, I want you to do the same.
You have a brain beneath that cap, and feet under those gowns. Use them wisely and do incredible things, go to unreachable places, and start mapping your future on your path to success. I know you all will do this, and I hope that sometime during your trek, you will remember where you first started, as the class of two thousand and ten.

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Sep 20, 2010
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