It is probably a mistake that I am standing here giving a speech for graduation. In fact it is probably a mistake that I am even graduating from this school at all -- believe me, just as most people in this class I have tested the limits of attendance, of sleeplessness, and of procrastination. At the beginning of my high schooling, I was even testing dropping out ... and if that wasn't a mistake, I don't know what was. After four years of Starr altering our minds, it seemed most fitting for me to spend my four minutes talking about mistakes. Thank goodness for them, by the way -- it is only when we truly screw up big time that we are ever stopped in our tracks -- stopped, briefly, to learn lessons of worth.
Sometimes, the value of mistakes are seen on a smaller scale; having a semester final turned back with more red marks than a Freshman without Clearasil. Isn't it then when we step back for a moment and look at ourselves? When on our Biology test we couldn't tell a cell from an atom, or an atom from an Eve; when on the math test, we pray to a higher power for a sign, and he gives us a cosine instead; when on the English research paper, we wrote what we thought was a pronoun, but it turns out to be just an amateur noun in disguise. You don't forget these little mistakes.
But it's the larger mistakes that matter even more; not keeping your word; losing the trust of a teacher or the confidence of a best friend; setting aside principles about cheating because it was just too easy to get away with or too hard of a test; letting lust get in the way of a friendship. We haven't been mere sponges for grammar, geometry, geography, and the Civil War the past four years -- we've been screwing up in a safe environment -- learning what the world is about; who we are about, through them.
A major part of maturing from those squirmy freshman bodies we once had was stepping...