Congratulations to the Class 2012!
Valedictorian Molly Limb's speech:
“Graduation is only a concept. In real life everyday you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you’ll make a difference.”
- Arie Pencovici
Family, faculty, friends and guests, welcome to the graduation of the class of 2012. Today is one of our many graduations. Today, we are no longer high school seniors. It’s kind of surreal to think that it is all over. But really it has all just begun.
Four short years ago we began our lives together: shy, naïve, and immature. Walking in that door freshmen year our biggest fear was JUG and the dress code. Seniors meowed at us in the hall, we all awkwardly hugged in between classes, and we had no idea how quickly the next four years would fly by. But fly they did. Four years later we have faced tragedies, triumphs, and monumental events in our lives. We got braces off, passed drivers tests, and actually applied to college. High school structured our personalities, formed friendships that will last a lifetime, and gave us all the tools we need to begin the rest of our lives. The things we have done at Central Catholic have set the footing for the places we will soon run away to, and hundreds of people stand behind us, waiting to watch us succeed.
Graduation is the closing point of an era. It's the day we rejoice over our accomplishments, smile fondly at our memories, and look forward to the places we will soon go. But we have new accomplishments everyday, new memories everyday, and a future that stretches on far past college, or wherever we may go next. We aren’t children anymore, but we have so much left to learn.
Our class has thrived and shone brightly in every corner of our school, from the energy and smiles we all possess, to the care and conscientiousness we exercise on a daily basis. We are mature, responsible, and for us, anything is possible. We’ve claimed the state volleyball title three years in a row, we’ve performed in musicals, made masterpieces, and traveled the world. We’ve studied hard, we’ve played hard, and we’ve finally arrived. We’ve made pasts for ourselves that can only suggest magnificent futures.
We are a class of All American football players, of rose princesses, of Bill Gates Millennium scholars, and of kind and worthy people. One of our very own isn’t even here today, as she has already begun her college education, spending her summer studying Arabic on her way to Jordan, on her way to changing the world. We are no longer the little class that could, we are the little class that did.
But how did we get here? Very carefully, as Reid Callan would say. The reason we are all here today is much bigger than the effort exerted by us, the students. The reason, in fact, is you. All of you. Our parents, our families, our teachers and coaches, our brothers and sisters, and each other. You who loved us, supported us, and pushed us even when we thought we might break, to become these graduates, sitting in cardinal gowns, seasoned and prepared to be individuals. We are better for having had the priviledge of knowing you. As 18 year old young adults, we often think we know everything. We omit the deserved thank you. We take credit for things you gave us. But today, we look around us and come to the realization that you have taught us everything. You showed us respect, compassion, and unconditional love. You demonstrated strength, holding us together at our very worst moments, and today we are gathered to celebrate one of our very best.
Central Catholic is our home. We may be a small class, but we are a close class. We are a family, or should I say a Ramily. I love this class and our school so immensely, because it is made up of such incredible individuals. We have struggled along together through high school. Bumping against each other at times, running into new experiences and tripping over our own downfalls. We’ve learned from every mistake, jumped as high as we could off of every cliff, and we’ve finally been thrown out the other end, better than we were before.
And now, we say goodbye. Many of us go to college, some to start a job, others to the military, and some even to travel. We have been guided through these past 4 years with careful planning, strict guidelines, and with the next step always laid out before us. And suddenly, we are adults. Suddenly we are in control. What an enormous responsibility, and with it, what magnificent opportunity.
Ernest Hemingway once said, “The world breaks everyone…It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of those things you can be sure that it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.” Class of 2012, we are the very good and the very gentle and the very brave. We are the blessed, shining faces ready to go out into the world. Life throws so many obstacles at us: illness, misfortune, and poverty. But Central Catholic has shaped us into young men and women who do not back down at those challenges. It would be easy to be selfish, to be cowardly, and to walk away when we stand in front of doors that are thrown shut in our faces. But we are none of those things. We have been raised to do the right thing, even when it is hard, to be people for others, who fix the broken, achieve the unimaginable, and make the world a more just place. We will be teachers, mothers, doctors, and lawyers, but more importantly we will be people. We will be people of immense character, full of passion and life. We will be the people who run blindly out into reality, bringing with us nothing but the simple goal of improving it.
Class of 2012, thank you. Thank you for the memories, for the spirit, and for being you. Thank you for making these the best and most memorable four years of my life. As you stand up and throw those caps, and the beach ball that someone is inevitably hiding, remember that this is your graduation. But don’t let it be the conclusion. Graduate every single day of your life. Be better, every single day of your life. And always remember “be who you are, and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”
Salutatorian Max Lebenbaum's speech:
Good morning. Classmates, faculty, family, friends, and guests; unless a few of you have stumbled in here by accident, we are all here today to witness and celebrate the conclusion of the Class of 2012’s era at Central Catholic. For the past four years, or three, or two, or one, we have stood together as a class of small numbers but big heart; of great achievement and greater potential. The past four years have been a blur of immaturity and adolescence, of change and growth. The past four years have been a long trek over an indiscernible trail marked only by the advice of those much wiser shouting back at us from the distance, but we together forged a path.
Together, we made it through the last four years. I’m proud to say that in my case, high school was not just a red brick building, but a stage in my life. And during this time, I did one thing every day, without exception. I learned. It might seem obvious that I learned things in school, that’s kind of the point of it all, but even though much of my time was spent studying academics, some of the most important lessons I learned during the past four years came from experiences outside the classroom.
One of the first things I learned at Central was a lesson in humility. Before I walked through those doors I thought I was pretty cool. I thought I knew everything. But then here I was, surrounded by the most talented, intelligent, creative, and all-around best human beings I have ever had the honor of calling my peers. I had to learn quickly that even though I may be the unique and beautiful little snowflake my kindergarten teacher told me I was, I’m not that special by myself. This class is special. They inspire others through their achievements, their drive, and their survival of unbelievable challenges. But none of us did it alone. Without the support of teachers and parents, of coaches and mentors, and of friends and peers, we would not be where we are today. I know that with a few twists of fortune, any number of deserving people could be standing here speaking now. Classmates, think of all those who have gotten you here, and be grateful. Think of all that you haven’t learned yet, and be humble.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about today is how much still lack. Let me explain. Look at us four years ago. We were ignorant, we were awkward and insecure, and judging by today’s freshmen I’m sure we were unbelievably annoying. But look how far we’ve come. Look at all of the sensibility, confidence and maturity we’ve gained. If the trend continues, we will look back in another four years and see how today, we are nowhere close to being done growing up. In the next four years we will take our lessons to the next level and get better and better and better. The future looks bright. I wish I had the life experience to tell you exactly what it looks like, but I have as much to learn as anyone, so I’ll borrow advice from smarter people. Abraham Lincoln said, “If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.” Benjamin Franklin said, “If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” Dr. Rhody always says “You can’t work in a pizza shop if you don’t like ripe tomatoes,” and to this day I have no idea what that means. But I’ll never forget it, because it was a part of my time at Central. I loved the last four years, and I really love all of you.
Marianne Williamson wrote the following:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?.... Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine…. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Classmates, it’s okay to be afraid. Of the future and of what you can do. The real question is: Will you conquer your fear? Will you wait for your problems to be solved for you or will you go out do something? Will you sit back and complain about the world or will you be the one to change it? Will you go out and take it easy in life, and wonder how much you could have done if you reached your potential? Or will you leave it all out there; do something to make yourself better, and look back with no regrets? It won’t be easy, and it won’t be fair. No matter who you are, life will kick you while you’re down and it will steal the time you hold most precious. But you can lower your shoulder and push through it. I’ve seen you do it. You have the tools to make it, as long as you put in the effort. We’ve been prepared to do great things, because for the past four years we’ve been in Central Catholic, but for the rest of our lives, Central Catholic will be in us.