“This generation is never going to accomplish the things I know it to be capable of unless we stop thinking of each other in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’…Like it or not, we’re all in this together.” ~ Ted Chalfen, from his graduation speech

Ted Chalfen, Gay Colorado Teen, Thanks Graduating Class For Support In Speech

Most of the time, graduation speeches are pretty predictable. Generation of generation of young dreamers attempting to sound erudite, use their time at the microphone to plead for a cause or to chastise a neglectful element or to reflect on life. The latter always makes me smile because I can still remember how I thought I knew so much of life when I graduated from high school lo so many years ago. The speeches usually include some kind of inside joke that the parents won’t quite understand, or some sort of grand charge for the varied members of the graduating class. Sometimes the speaker reveals a genuine sense of comedic timing, but rarely.

I don’t know if there is some unwritten rule that graduation speeches should stay within the confines of being generic, but that usually seems to be the case. I remember who gave the speeches at my graduation, but I don’t remember a single word of what they said (high school, college or graduate school).  That being said, this particular speaker and his speech are worth listening to, if only because they reflect so well on his classmates, the school, the teachers, the administrators, and the parents.

“That proves you are unusual, returned the Scarecrow; and I am convinced the only people worthy of consideration in this world are the unusual ones. For the common folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.” ~ Frank Baum

 

The Graduate

  

“The future is a convenient place for dreams.” ~ Anatole France

Well, we survived graduation, all of us. I spent Sunday worrying about Monday. I spent Monday morning worrying about Monday night. I spent Monday night worrying about the next few minutes. I finally relaxed once it was all over and I was home. Of course, that’s when the migraine began . . . 

 But everything went the way that it was supposed to: Brett marched in with his class, received his diploma, and managed to smile. Actually, he smiled a lot. We took lots of pictures, but the camera was acting funky, so they aren’t the best shots, unfortunately. I think that fact that it was in the mid 90’s even at 9 in the evening also contributed to the overall feelings of craziness. We were all melting. No one wanted to stand still for pictures, and Brett insisted on making goofy faces in many of the pictures. 

Alexis, Me, Brett, Eamonn

 

Brett and Corey

 

  

That’s okay, though. It was nice to see the joy on his face and to know that when all was said and done, he was able to enjoy himself. 

Now, I get to start worrying about college . . . 

Music by Sheryl Crow, “Always on Your Side”

Graduating Class of 2010: Brett Did It!

 

“Warriors of light always have a certain gleam in their eyes.

They are of this world, they are part of the lives of others, and they set out on their journey with no saddlebags and no sandals. They are often cowardly. They do not always make the right decisions.

They suffer over the most trivial things, they have mean thoughts, and sometimes believe that they are incapable of growing. They frequently deem themselves unworthy of any blessing or miracle.

They are not always quite sure what they are doing here. They spend many sleepless nights, believing that their lives have no meaning.

That is why they are warriors of light. Because they make mistakes. Because they ask themselves questions. Because they are looking for a reason—and are sure to find it.”

~ Paulo Coehlo