This week we share with readers the graduation speeches local students gave earlier this month at area high school commencements. Today we feature a speech by a member of the Friends School Class of 2012 Sarah Wallack. She will attend Hamilton College in the fall. -The Eds.
I’ve never been a great cook — or rather, I’ve never really given cooking a chance — mostly because that would mean listening to and obeying my mom. However, there was one time that she shared with me a little piece of wisdom that I’ve always held onto. An evening a few years ago, while making her special homemade chicken noodle soup, she told me, “Sarah, something that you should always remember about soup is that it gets better with age.” That evening we ate the soup for dinner. It was fine, but not nearly as mouthwatering as it was two weeks later.
Tonight is a night that marks the end to my own fifteen-year journey here at Friends. Joining the class of 2012 in September of 1997 was not only a privilege, but also a unique gift because it has provided me, as well as a handful of my peers, with the opportunity to observe the growth and development of my classmates from the time we learned to spell our very own names to this moment now.
In our earliest years, the class of 2012 was spread among three kindergarten and pre-first classes. We were indeed a zestful and spirited bunch, but still young and undeveloped. However, the distinct talents and personalities of our class quickly began to surface, and our flavor became more defined. There were classmates like Arnie, the class heartthrob, whose caricatures looked far too professional to have been created by a third grader; and Justin, who one day enthusiastically proclaimed that he was the Queen of England and had his own credit card; Katya, who had a great passion for horses; and Lucy, who although small at the time, was a bullet on the soccer field and could dribble around even the most athletic of boys during recess.
As the years progressed, our class grew and flourished. In middle school we welcomed almost twenty new students, each of whom brought a new spice to our already evolving recipe. This transitional period in our lives, which gently guided us from childhood to young adulthood was challenging at times. There were tears about crushes, friends, tests, roles in the play, and not making the team. However, we were resilient and never lost flavor.
By the time we entered high school, our class was composed of almost one hundred students. We had dozens of athletes who contributed to more than eight championships; actors and actresses so talented that Mr. McVey felt confident enough to put on his most cherished musical, West Side Story. And then there were others: artists, like Emilio who won national competitions; cinematographers like Ben, who won film awards; mathematicians, like Michael, so brilliant that they could effortlessly carry on conversations about complex calculus concepts with their teachers, while dumbfounded classmates wandered by in awe. But this is only a handful of students from our class. And while it might seem that some have perhaps achieved more than others, it is so crucial to realize what a huge impact each individual has had on our class.
We are more than just than just a group students. We are a family; a unit; a community of close, loving peers. Although it has taken fifteen years, now, we, the class of 2012, have come together to create a delicious, delectable, truly magnificent soup. Classmates came and went, but their spirits —their flavor — stayed with us. And today, each and every one of us, an ingredient amongst other ingredients, serve as evidence of a near perfect recipe.
We are a special class; gifted in huge variety of ways. Like one of our former classmates declared, “we’re one in a million.” Our teachers, mentors, and parents, the chefs of our soup, cannot be thanked enough. So cheers to the class of 2012, to a bright, successful, and delicious future ahead. Thank you, and bon appétit.