Today is both an end, and a beginning. After thirteen long years we have finally concluded our Kutztown education. It’s been a bumpy road, filled with defeats, victories, and surprises. We’ve learned a lot along the way, and not just science and math and English, although our teachers have made sure we picked up plenty of that too. Seeing the same people day after day has taught us what friendship is—and isn’t, and we’ve learned that life is not always fair. We’ve also developed some interesting skills, like how to dodge buckets—or freshman—in a crowded hallway on a rainy day. Or how to fight off heat stoke in the sweltering science wing and hypothermia in the over air-conditioned English classrooms. Even so, we still managed to scream the loudest of any class at every pep rally since our freshman year. We’ve survived social dramas and standardized tests and finals. And now, after all the homework and the late nights studying and the 14,580 hours of sitting in class, yes I did the math, we’re here to celebrate the fact that we’ve made it.
When we started kindergarten this moment seemed so terribly far away. We were only five years old ourselves, and thirteen years might as well have been an eternity. By the time we reached junior high we were too busy worrying about whether or not we would be able to open our lockers or remember where our classes were to give the passage of time much thought. By 9th grade there was the stigma of being freshmen, and then in the blink of an eye three years had passed and our senior year had snuck up on us. Suddenly everything we did was a milestone; our last concert, our last assembly, our last test, even our last day of classes. By this point senoritis had set in, and we were ready to leave and move on to new things. We didn’t shed a tear in our last physics class or after our last final.
But we mustn’t dwell on all the things that we are sad to leave behind, and there are many. As unappreciative as we sometimes were, for the most part these have been good years, and it is now time to leave behind the routine we have fallen into. But have courage, because tonight is not just an ending, it is also a beginning. The beginning of the rest of our lives.
Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Where will you be in twenty years? We don’t know that now of course, we can’t see the future. But I’m sure many of you have some idea of where you’d like to be, in a dream career perhaps or a stable, loving family. Or maybe you don’t know what you want to be, but you know who you want to be; a compassionate friend, someone who helps others and gives back to the community, a person who’s always willing to try something new. There’s still time to get specific, so don’t worry if you haven’t got your...