Class of 2012 Class Day Speaker Victoria Piccione's speech given at the June 1, 2012, graduation ceremony on the Town Green.
Graduation Speech 2012
June 1, 2012
by Victoria Piccione
Weston High School Class of 2012, it is a great honor for me to stand here and address you all today—the day for which we have all waited a very long time. While it is necessary to celebrate our great achievements—and celebrate, we will—I first ask you to look back on the journey that has led us all here. Close your eyes and recall the emotions you experienced on the first day of second semester as a senior. Remember the excitement triggered by the news that school was cancelled for two days in October and November because of a Halloween snowstorm. Picture yourself walking into school on August 31st, 2011, your last “first day of school.” Now rewind faster to freshman year, the first assembly with Bashir and Mike—recall how hard you laughed. Rewind to your first day of high school and feel those same butterflies, those same feelings of nervous excitement. Remember the Moving On Ceremony and how high school seemed like four more daunting years of your life. Think of the excitement with which we anticipated our unforgettable trip to Washington, DC and the prospect of having classmates as roommates for the very first time. Recall “Jump and Jive in 2005” and talent shows in the hot Field School gymnasium where the ceiling would shower down if a ball hit it.
Think of Woodland or Country or whatever your elementary school may have been. Think back to your first, “first day of school”—13 years ago—and think of how you could have never anticipated what was to come: the friendships. The hardships. The successes. The failures. The happiness. The disappointments. The hard work. The accomplishments.
Parents, I’m sure you can remember these moments from a slightly different perspective. Perhaps our worsening senioritis dismayed you, or our first day of senior year triggered memories of the first time you had to let us climb on the bus and wave goodbye as we headed off to kindergarten. As we grew older, we resisted and tried to establish ourselves as independent “adults” because, well, as teenagers that’s what we’re “supposed to do.” But the truth is, parents, you are three-quarters of the reason why we’re here today. You picked out our first day of school outfits before we even gave a thought to what we wear; you went over vocabulary lists and helped when we tried to learn our multiplication tables; you brought us everywhere—to Kinder Kicks and orchestra rehearsal, sports practice and friends’ houses—and you supported us every step of the way. You picked us up and brushed us off after we fell, then encouraged us to try again. But more than anything: you really did believe in us, even when we stopped believing in ourselves.
My fellow classmates, today, at the culmination of our high school careers, we are very different people from the small kindergarteners who scurried off to school 13 years ago. We are the product of all our experiences and have been molded by those who have touched us. Every one here has somehow had a profound impact on who we are—parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, teachers, the person sitting beside you: they have all formed our character and passions, in some way. Too often overlooked, teachers have had some of the greatest influence of all. Without fail, they have always been ready to share their knowledge. Even when we whined about an upcoming project or slouched in our chairs, arms crossed, completely unwilling to give any effort that day, our teachers were there, ready to impart the wisdom of their subject. In addition to helping us become the bright individuals that we are today, they added personality to our high school experience. I’ll never forget being terrified of politely refusing Dr. Korsunsky’s dum-dums or hearing Mr. Benson’s deep love and admiration for Winston Churchill conveyed through his stirring renditions of the Prime Minister’s speeches. We owe our teachers a huge thank you for their patience, their dedication, their hard work, and, yes, their love.
My high school experience—and anyone’s high school experience—would not be complete without the friends who got us through it all. We all have different stories, but I’m sure they’re united by the incredible care and love and loyalty demonstrated by the people we hold closest. The amount of understanding and genuine concern my friends always displayed will never cease to amaze me. So thank you, to all my friends—and all friends out there—for showing me and all of us, especially when the going got tough, that high school is not just about gaining an education; it’s about forming friendships that will last a lifetime. I will miss you all so much!
We have finally made it; we’ve (theoretically) attended 2,340 days of school, but we have many more adventures ahead of us. Today, the 1st of June 2012, we sit on the Town Green, a vision in white. Among us are field hockey, soccer, golf, swimming, tennis, and lacrosse state champions. We have All-State Musicians, HS Quiz Show team members, talented artists and thespians, and recipients of countless academic awards. Each and every one of us is remarkable and has already accomplished great feats. But it doesn’t end there. The world is changing, and never before has it been so possible for ordinary individuals to define themselves as truly extraordinary. So today, we are not just a mass of high school graduates; sitting in our midst are future doctors and scientists, perhaps someone who will develop a new technology to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels; foreign diplomats and politicians, who will represent a new age of bipartisan thought; educators and inventors, who will design the face of tomorrow. If Weston High School has shown us anything, it is that the opportunities are endless. We are limited by nothing more than our imaginations and determination. The future may be uncertain, but excitement lies in the multitude of possibilities. The late Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
So, Class of 2012, as we head our separate ways and embark on the next great journey in our lives, I hope that your passions or instinct or “whatever,” as Steve Jobs said, bring you happiness and success and a love for the life that you are living. Congratulations, Class of 2012. In the words of Elle Woods—“we did it!”