Friday, June 01, 2012

Jack's Valedictory Address

Good Evening faculty, family, friends, and the 2012 graduating class of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School.

The famed theologian, Saint Thomas Aquinas once said, “There is nothing on this earth to be prized more than true friendship.” Now whether he was talking about God or other human beings is up for debate, but I believe he was talking about both. Throughout our journey here, those of us who are graduating today have made many friendships. Whether they are among ourselves, or between us and God, they are important and they are friendships we should cherish for the rest of our lives.

We have all bonded with each other during the past nine years no matter if we have been here for all nine of those years, or we got here this year. Graduates, these last nine years have been an amazing ride; think back to Kindergarten, it was our first year here, and we just started developing our friendships. Then in first grade we hatched the chicks, and watched them grow not realizing this is how our parents have felt for the past nine years. In second grade we received our First Communion, which was the first time we had all gone through a similar experience together. Then there was third grade where we learned how to write in cursive, multiply and divide. After that was fourth grade where we had our first overnight field trip at Sutter’s Fort, and we had to catch the bandits during the night. Then in fifth grade was the Headlands where we really began to know each other well. Next, was sixth grade where we began middle school and we started to make friends in other classes, but we always stayed together. In seventh grade we went to Camp Pendola and prepared to take our roles as leaders of the school. And finally, in eighth grade we became the leaders of the school; this year we went to Point Bonita and Six Flags, and these two trips really solidified the friendships we had made in years before. Through the last nine years we have come together as a class, and even though it feels like we finally know each other we have to part ways and go on a new adventure in high school. And even though we will go our separate ways we will always remember the friendships we have made here at SEAS.

We have all worked very hard to get to this point and it has paid off because we are all achieved our goal of going on to high school, but for the rest of our lives we need to keep working hard. There are still many places to we still have to go in life, many goals we strive to achieve and many dreams we hope to fulfill. The only way we can do this is by hard work. All of us have talents. There is Kirsten and John who are extremely intelligent. Jake, Andy, Malcolm, Aidan, Jacob, Giselle, Sammy and Mia are great at Basketball. Also, Joe and Anthony are tremendous baseball players. Plus, Emma, Sarah, Craig, Leah, Eric and Julianna are wonderful soccer players. David and Emily are extremely gifted golfers. Brandon has a great mind for chess, Zach has a knack for wrestling, Gabby and Taylor, are great volleyball, Jack, who is a great swimmer, AJ and Frances are gifted musicians, Michael is an outstanding runner, Conor is great at Lacrosse, Kaitlyn, who is a talented dancer and there is Josh, Camille, Marissa, Kellie, and Alanna who are excellent friends and people. We all have talents we can use in this world, but we have to work hard to be able to take advantage of them.

I have one piece of advice to all of us. It is to always believe in God, through good times and through bad times, through the happiness of life and through the sadness of life, and through the ups and the downs we may experience for the rest of our lives. God is the foundation of our lives and if we abandon that foundation we will crumble. God will always be right at our side, and he will carry us through everything as long as we believe. Nothing can go wrong if we believe wholeheartedly in God.

I’d like to thank all the people who have inspired me to work hard and helped me along during my journey at SEAS. My parents, Mark and Sharon, who gave me the opportunity to receive a Catholic education at SEAS and for supporting me throughout my entire journey here. My aunts, uncles, cousins, brother, and sister, for supporting me. My classmates, for being great friends that I can always trust. My teachers, for pushing me to work hard and always do my best no matter what. Our principal, Mrs. Koontz, for helping me be the best person I could be. And our priests for helping guide me in my spiritual journey, and for helping me be the best Catholic I could be. Thank you all for being there for me and supporting me. It has been a difficult, adventurous, and thrilling journey, but you have helped me get to where I am today. Because of you my nine years here has made me a better follower of Christ, and overall a better person. I hope to take what you have taught me during my time at SEAS and apply it during my next four years at Jesuit, at the college I attend, and for the rest of my life after that. Without them I could be nowhere close to the person that I have become today.

The friendships we have made here are what has gotten us through these nine years and are what has made our time here enjoyable. I look back on these last nine years and wish that we could all spend more time with each other, and relive our memories. But we have to move on, and make new friends. And there will always be a place in my heart for every one of you. As Thomas Jefferson said, “friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.” We have all helped make each other’s lives sunnier.

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