Graduation Speech: Genius

Graduation Speech: Genius

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Good evening class of 2013 and all of our proud supporters. I come before you tonight with bittersweet feelings about this event. On the one hand we are celebrating a momentous achievement and a symbol of our movement into a new phase of life. On the other hand, we have to spend more than five hours in this arena full of memories of the past four song contests. I’m sure we can all agree that of the entire class, probably the only one with really fond memories of this place is wrestling state champion Jamin Meletia.
Nevertheless, I know this is a truly special event, and I would like for all of us to remember it far more than any song contest defeat. So here begins my real speech…
Tonight I want to talk about genius. When the typical person thinks of genius, the first thing that comes to his or her mind is generally an image of a physicist like Albert Einstein or maybe even a math genius like David Choy. However, over the years I have come to extend my definition of genius.
First off, I extended it to sports. Sportscasters talk of the genius of Lebron James or Roger Federer. I mean all of us know the sports geniuses: Kekoa Taparra, Kanani Herring, TJ Kua, Zane Dydasco, Mike Hoke…. All of these people demonstrate amazing genius in their respective sports. Fortunately for us non-future pro athletes, life isn’t only about sports.
Genius comes in still other forms. One particular example comes to my mind. I was having the hardest time pulling out a weed during our senior service project in Kokua Valley. I tugged and tugged, but the stupid weed seemed invincible. I was just at the point of giving up when one of my fellow classmates showed me yet another form of genius. He pulled out a pocketknife and helped me to cut the weed preventing indigenous plants from growing in the area. My initial response was, “Man, that kid must be imo.” However, after looking at the mutilated weed for a while, I realized that no, this kid is not imo. He’s a genius. Joshua McBrayer epitomized the Boy Scout motto, and I thank him both for killing the weed and further expanding my definition of genius.
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you can probably see, genius comes in many different forms: the constant pushing and encouraging of a cross-country coach, the magnanimous giving of a tennis coach, or even the bombardment of assignments from a teacher helping you to master the material.
What requires the most genius, however, is taking the time and effort to recognize and cultivate the genius in others that might not be very apparent. These geniuses are the teachers in the DOE and those out in the community helping the underprivileged, including many Hawaiians unable to attend Kamehameha. They are helping the Hawaiians who need the most help. True genius is shown in the charter schoolteachers and community doctors struggling with a lack of resources. True genius is shown in those who help their people.
I’m not telling you all to go out and become DOE teachers. We need Hawaiian professionals at the top of their fields representing our people. Simply remember whom you represent and where you came from.
I would now like to leave you with my favorite saying, which happens to be the origin of the school’s motto. Please refrain from laughing at my Hawaiian until after the speech. Imua e na poki'i, a inu i ka wai 'awa'awa. 'A'ohe hope e ho'i mai ai. “Go forward my brothers and drink of the bitter water. There is no turning back.” Life will be challenging, especially with all of the responsibilities of being a Hawaiian. People will pull you in every direction, and you will feel compelled to fulfill everyone’s needs. However, we must remain true to our roots. As David Choy said, we all have ties that bind. As students of Kamehameha, we have a duty to help our people and serve our Lord. We must represent Pauahi and our people to the best of our abilities. But first we must graduate. Thank you everyone, especially the faculty and class of 2013, for making my 9 years at Kamehameha such a wonderful experience.
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