‘Exactly you:’ Mrs. Wells words to graduates
Written by Christy Richardson on June 15, 2012
What do you get when you cross an Eagle Scout, a dancer, a singer, and a voracious reader of dystopian novels (who is, nonetheless, surprisingly upbeat?).
That may sound like the beginning of an offbeat joke, but it is in fact the question that I asked myself at the start of this school year.
Slater, Emma, Anni, and Hannah, in many ways, the four of you are as different as four human beings can be. You have genuinely diverse personalities, interests and styles. And yet you were asked to be side by side, all year long
Just the four of you. All year long.
For others, this might have been a challenge. But you have made the most of your ninth grade year from day one. And as you’ve been together, each of you has gone deeper into who you are.
You all have grown every day into exactly you:
- An Eagle Scout who studied pre-med programs at Harvard and whose fascination with the offbeat led to a wonderful ninth grade speech and brilliantly quirky science day reports.
- A remarkably poised young woman whose love for dance gives her grace in all things – on stage, in student council meetings, and on the sports field.
- A selfless field hockey player who isn’t afraid to belt out a tune as a gum-cracking ugly stepsister and at any moment would stop to help me or a friend in need.
- A giggling and ever-lively person who adores young kids and gave her heart and soul to the outreach committee.
But just as cement is made strong by combining four different elements, the four of you combined in a way that created something very, very powerful. You were role models for the rest of this school. You showed everyone here what it means to support one another, to embrace different-ness, in yourself and others, and to be who you are, deep down, with great confidence and great integrity.
I don’t know if you know just how much this means in the eyes of, say, a kindergartener who is just beginning to discover that she is different from others, in a world where differences aren’t always valued. Or to a new student who left his friends behind and shows up here afraid and unsure. Or to anyone, of any age, who still struggles to know where he or she fits in to a bigger picture.
I’m here to tell you that it means a lot. The example that you offered this year means everything. It’s what makes Pine Cobble more than just a place to learn facts and figures; it’s what makes us a community.
Today marks the end of this chapter for you four. As you leave this campus, some of you after a few years and some of you after a very long time, you head “out there” into the big, wide world which will bring new opportunities, change and a chance to take that person you have become and share that person with a new school and lots of new people.
In those high school years and beyond, you will have to navigate a dizzying variety of choices – more choices than any generation before you has ever faced.
Out there, you will know moments of failure. One always passes failure on the way to success.
Out there lies great complexity, a world in which simple, black-and-white answers can be almost impossible to find.
And when you are “out there” facing the unknown, dealing with challenges that no one has ever seen before, I want you to do exactly what you did this year. I want you to think and live and sing and dance and laugh and support others in a way that only you can.
Think back a few weeks ago to something Emma said in her ninth grade speech when she quoted Martha Graham: “There is only one of you in the world, just one, and if that is not fulfilled then something has been lost.”
So, Hannah, Slater, Emma and Anni do not ever let the world lose out on you. Trust yourself.
Be exactly you. Do not wonder if that is enough: it will be.
Thank you for leading us, and each other. Thank you for being you. You will always have a home here. We hope you visit often. We will always welcome you.