The Graduation Speech I Should Have Given

Dear teachers, parents, and fellow students,

I stand here before you after 15 long years here at German Swiss. As we have grown and changed over the years, as has the school we have come to know and dare I say it, love. My experience here has been second to none. I've grown to care for this school and my classmates as my home and my family. As we all sit here upon this stage adorning the first uniform we've ever worn, celebrating the height of our academic achievements this far and the good times we shared, it's no wonder that an air of serenity befalls us.

For the first time since we began our journey as pioneers of the IB, I finally feel at peace. I feel at peace knowing that I have had the privilege to attend such an incredible school. One that has prepared us all for the challenges ahead. A school that taught me that working hard meant that I would succeed. A school that taught me that hard work will always prevail. And it did just that.

I stand here today as a ghost; a broken shell of a once vibrant person. I look at you through eyes that know no more than 5 hours of sleep a night. I hear you through ears that know few compliments and praise. I speak to you through a lips that know to keep themselves shut lest their speaker be punished for sharing an unpopular opinion.

I stand before you as one of 43 brilliant students. A student whose cheeks know tears better than kisses. Whose arms know books better than hugs. Whose brains know nothing other than to keep pushing, pushing, pushing until there is no where left to go but over the edge.

And here we stand together at the edge of our childhood looking out into the horizon of young adulthood. We stand here united through the hardships of the IB. We stand here united in the knowledge that hard work will always prevail. As in the past it has prevailed over our health, our mental state and our sanity.

As a final goodbye to the class of 2015, I wish for us all to move on from the past 18 with minimal damage. I wish for your lives to no longer be filled with a fear of failure, a warped sense of achievement, and an unrealistic expectation of the type of people we should be. I wish for your lives to be filled with moments in which you can finally voice your true opinions without fear of being swept under the rug for being different. I wish for your lives to be filled with an appreciation for both academics and the arts, where both are seen as equally important as each other.

Lastly, I wish for all of us to make peace with who we have grown to become and find solace that the coming years will teach us how to grow out of our unhealthy, robotic work ethic. Congratulations to the Class of 2015, we've triumphed in the face of adversity and I can't wait to see us become the people we aspire to be.