Friday, 03 July 2009 00:00
On this special day, as we, the class of 2009, graduate, we should remember the words of the Latin poet Horace. The two simple words, “carpe diem,” translated to mean seize the day, teach us that everyday is important and that we should never waste a moment of our precious lives. Over the past four years, I know many of us have learned many ways to spend our time efficiently and productively, although we have not always succeeded. I can remember one example from my sophomore year.
In 10th grade, I was assigned a paper for homework. I was given plenty of time to work on it, all the resources I might need, and a great teacher to give me advice and answer any questions about the work. The directions were clear and while looking over it and brainstorming how I was going to tackle it took some time, I knew what I had to do. The difficult part, though, was starting the work when an array of entertainment was available to distract me. I knew I’d regret watching TV or chatting online, but I did it anyway. Pretty soon, it was late, and I was tired. What did I do? I went to bed. The next morning I missed the first couple of periods to groggily rush through the assignment and finished just in time for the period that it was due. I ended up getting a respectable grade, but I put myself through an avoidable and stressful ordeal, involving a trip to the attendance office.
I’m betting that most of my classmates today can reminisce on similar days in our past four years. While we feel like we can get away with procrastinating on some of our high school assignments, it’s not a great model to follow when it comes to the priorities, or ‘assignments’, that are more significant in our lives. As we graduate today, we may have life goals in mind or at least know our plans for next year, and we surely have the resources and support from our family, teachers, and friends to get started on the next part of our journey. But now comes the challenge. We’ll definitely find creative ways to distract ourselves from important work in the future, but I have come to realize that half-hearted efforts ultimately produce mediocrity and are probably going to yield disappointment. Seniors know distractions are always available in many forms, and it’s up to us to find a balance in our lives using our talents and strengths.
My hope for this class is that we’ll live up to the inspiring and familiar words of Horace. As we seize the day, let’s be mindful of where we’ve come from and where we are going. Let’s choose to devote our time to meaningful work and exciting adventures. Let’s look back at our high school years as time well spent. Let’s enjoy every day of the summer ahead of us, our last stab at free time before the busy years of college begin. In college, let’s become passionate about what we choose to do and the people we meet, and plan each day as a time to do something worthwhile.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made high school a rewarding four years. To the board of education, superintendents, administration, teachers, and of course our loving parents, thank you for so willingly and passionately investing your time in each of our lives. To all of my classmates, let’s keep the fond memories in our hearts.
Congratulations to all!
When an orchestra is warming up in the beginning of a rehearsal, the sounds may be a bit cacophonous. Musical noises grate against each other as people tune or practice excerpts from their pieces. The air is filled with discord as the musicians settle into their seats. Similarly, when our grade entered middle school for the first time six years ago, we were bombarded with many new faces and names to learn. We were an unrehearsed orchestra, not quite certain of our surroundings or how our music would eventually sound when we came together. Personalities may have clashed as we were introduced to our new peers, but as soon as the concertmaster signaled for the orchestra to tune together, we all strove for the same pitch and discovered one thing: that our grade as a whole had the potential for growth, to come together in perfect symphony.
Each and every member of our class comes from his or her own unique background. Some are talented athletes or accomplished musicians; others are brilliant scholars or dedicated artists. Each person brings his or her own talent into the school, just as each section of an orchestra contributes its own sound and individual part. The violins may provide the main melody, while the violas supply rhythmic reinforcement, the cellos and basses include their deep harmonies, and the woodwinds and brass add contrast with their sharper sounds. Although each section has its own tone, the orchestra would not be complete without the individual sounds. No matter how small the notes of one instrument may seem, each is, in fact, crucial to the entire orchestra, just as each graduating senior here today is an important member of our grade.
Of course, the sections of an orchestra would not be able to unite if it weren’t for the supervision of a conductor. These past four years, our parents, teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors have helped us with every step through high school. They directed us through rough rehearsals – that is, the all-important exams and SATs, piles of tedious college applications, and letters of joy or heartbreak when decision time came. Although they were sometimes strict and persistent, they wanted nothing more than to help us, and it is for this reason that we are thankful for all the guidance we have received.
As we look back at our days at Manhasset, we can see the legacy that we have left behind through all of our accomplishments. Each of us is like a unique musical instrument, and through the years, we’ve discovered our own individual tune. Our music will continue to resonate through the school, even years after we are long gone from these halls. And even as we begin our new lives, we will always remember the symphony of our high school days. Congratulations to the class of 2009. As we put on this one last performance for our audience–the board of education, superintendents, administrators, teachers, parents, relatives, and invited guests, all of whom we welcome today–let’s enjoy our graduation day, because we’ve definitely earned it. And let our music play on.