Saturday, August 3, 2019

Graduation Speech -- Graduation Speech, Commencement Address

As a graduation speaker, I'm supposed to stand up here reflectively gazing out upon the few, the proud, the chosen: the Class of 2012, and point in general directions while saying the clichà ©, "Among us I see the first female president and a future congressman and the next mayor of Everett." But besides that I would never in my most vengeful moments wish those positions upon any of you, I cannot make those assertions because I am categorically against campaigns of any kind. Inspirational speaker John Bytheway said, "Success is more likely to come naturally from living life fully than by a direct and pointed campaign to achieve that long-range goal." This asserts that it's better to achieve by living deliberately than by doorbelling. Maybe this is because of those things we associate with campaigning. Campaigning implies the pursuit of power or a position. Whistle stops aren't about smelling the roses or enjoying the view, they're about shaking as many hands and kissing as many babies as possible, never mind the names and faces. Campaigning implies competition. Some people don't go after opportunities because they wish to avoid the cannibalism involved, and it's really unfortunate that any of our high school experiences may have been less because of a fear of friction. Even more misguided were those who did compete, but only because there was the chance to become taller by standing on someone else's head. They didn't know the cause, they didn't really care; they just wanted the crown. And campaigning ends in one of two ways: you either win or you lose. Now I'm not trying to knock on goals. On the contrary, discover a goal worth working for, something you can be passionate about. Better yet, get yourself a project... ..., I get it." Those times are bonuses, because sometimes there's nothing: there is no thanks, there is no recognition. But we don't do it for the crown. We don't campaign. We do good things for the right reasons at Wilson so now, now I can gaze prophetically out upon the few, the anxious, the survivors of CE: the Class of 2003, and predict that among us is the parent who will endure bad weather and worse calls during a Little League game only to be thanked by muddy cleats on the seat of the car. Among us is the kindred spirit who will pick up the neighbor's blown-over trashcan every Thursday morning. Among us is the nine-to-fiver who will stick around until eight to cover for an overwhelmed colleague. We do good things for the right reasons. It may not be glamorous, but it's genuine. We may not build monuments, but we have and will continue to make memories.

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