I AM

  • Thu Jun 24th, 2021 5:47am
  • Life

Class of 2021 Graduation Speech

By Cheryl Archibald

A month or so ago, Jaelynn asked me if I’d be willing to make the class of ‘21 graduation speech. She told me they were looking for someone they all knew—I do fit the bill.

If they were in district Second grade-I taught them. 10th

English Honors—mine

English 11—me again.

Thanks guys for the honor! Each of you is one of “my kids” forever.

So—here we are

Look

Look at each other.

Families—look at your babies.

Teachers—look at your kids.

Seniors—look at each other.

Together because we did it!

Seniors—Eighteen years traveling similar, overlapping paths:

Birthday parties at Tillicum Park, Kenny Church Tournaments, swimming at Lake Pleasant, the dust-rain-sunburn of Fourth of July in Forks.

—moments we will not talk about up the A road.

Hours and hours and hours of bus trips with Shauna, Terri, Adam

Individuals, but unified.

Then Covid. March 15, 2021, we went home and we had to let go—we let go of so much.

BUT

Look around—today we gather to celebrate you!

Last spring struggling to create meaningful English assignments I had Juniors write “I AM” poems. Thanks to GOOGLE I still have them. Through their words—a composite of those poems, I’d like to introduce you to the class of 2021.

“I am shy and nice—smart, a daredevil—six feet tall and female

Determined and confident—funny and chill.

I am a first-generation kid with big dreams.

I wonder what the future holds—why the world is divided by politics.

I imagine trees with green leaves and around them a river that whispers.

I want to be in Las Vegas—to hunt caribou—some Chick Fil A waffle fries RIGHT NOW!

I want to always be pure, my best self.

I pretend everything is going to be alright—that I always know what I’m doing and that I’m never wrong.

I feel my grandpa’s presence—I feel stressed—tired—whispers fading from me—joy filling me.

I feel thankful for being here today.

I touch someone’s hand, holding it as long as possible—my Chromebook—the clouds—the sky.

I worry equality will never be abundant. I worry about my dad.

And I cry.

I cry when I think about how my grandpa is struggling— of the fact the world might not be the same again.

I cry when I get pepper in my eyes or up my nose.

I understand that the earth is not flat—that there are challenges—and what goes around comes around

AND

I understand there’s still work to be done.

I say Covid sucks.

I say trust in God.

I say that everything happens for a reason.

I say hard work pays off—the harder I work, the farther I’ll get in life.

And I say that everyone deserves a second chance—everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

I way do what you can with what you have where you are—

I say I like graduating with my class of senior friends!

I dream—

I dream about becoming a US Marine—owning my own company—sailing on a big ship—becoming a wildlife expert when I grow up.

I dream of going to university to get a good job to be able to help my mom—of racing through fields atop my spotted friend Happy, wild and free. I dream of a cheerful summertime—an ocean voyage.

I dream my mom watches over me every day keeping me safe.

And I dream that each person will be treated as an amazing individual.

Winter will end. Sunshine come again. Roses bloom once more.

I hope the ‘rona gets over with.

I hope that life can be treasured by everyone—that someday soon people’s voices will be heard—that the world finds peace.

I hope for a scholarship—a comfortable life—an amazing family.

To be adventurous— to live life to the fullest—for a bright and successful future.

I hope to be a good influence, and I hope the puzzle will come together. “

-Class of 2021

Do you hear your wisdom? Your words are a gift.

We all gathered here and linked online

We are so proud of each of you!

Loved—so so loved, and we who love you plead you explore every hope, dream, wish.

You are each exiting this similar overlap path—creating something new—something all your own.

Hold hopes dear

Dream endless possibilities

Dare to Say, to Do, to Expect the future you wish.

Eighteen years traveling similar, overlapping paths end—strikeout, your own unique path

Look around.

Look at your families

Look at your teachers

Look at your friends.

The path is yours and yours alone-

But

You are never alone.

Congratulations Forks High class of 2021.