[Go up with Senior Homecoming t-shirt and hold up front and back so everyone can see]
"Seniors. We just don't care."
I feel that this has been our slogan for the past four years, but what I wanted to talk to you about is the opposite of what our shirt says.
When I was chosen to speak, you have no idea how honored I was. It was completely unexpected. There's so much that I feel for you as I stand before you at this moment and I can feel the tears coming on, but I'll try to hold back until after the ceremony. There's so much I want to say to you that putting it all into words is difficult.
I know that to some of you I'm just one of those annoying people that yell during assemblies and sometimes I'll tell you to do it, too. But despite the fact that I yell at assemblies and despite that fact that I want you to, too, there's more to it than that. As big as an advocate I am for school spirit, I admit sometimes the importance of it is not always clear. But the importance of something else is clear and that is compassion. To me, compassion is a deep sense of love, understanding, and sympathy for others. Someone with true compassion can feel it for someone they don't even know, someone who is entirely different from them, and someone who they might not even like. For this reason, compassion is not an emotion. We must be able to share it regardless of who the person is. Can you walk down the street and see a random face in the crowd and feel concern for their well-being?
I have seen the amazing compassion that people are capable of and it moves me to tears. September 11th stays vivid in our minds. One aspect that touched me was how America came together with each other in order to share sympathy and comfort. Americans felt the compassion that was so needed to bring the country together in order to survive this struggle.
Also, I have noticed people's reactions to the death of others. Just this year we lost a custodian, David Webb, who was very special to me. Though his death was unnoticed here at first, when people found out that someone had died, they automatically felt sympathy for that person and his life and his family. At the point of death, sympathy is an immediate reaction no matter who it is.
I also recall a story from this year's yearbook about a Palestinian man donating the heart of his son who died in war to an Israeli man. He said he was willing to save a life regardless of race or religion.
But why for many must it take the closeness of death or the actual thing to bring us to compassion? Why must...