Graduation Speech: Is County High the Best School in America?

Graduation Speech: Is County High the Best School in America?

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Good evening students, faculty, staff, family, and friends.

I was NOT surprised to see County High School missing from Newsweek's list of the Top 100 High Schools in America for 2012. The magazine based their ranking on Advanced Placement scores and Ivy League acceptances. In the accompanying article on high school life, the journalist attempted to find the real worth of a high school education. Certainly, the excruciatingly painful 3-hour-long tests cannot sum up an entire four years of experience as a high school student. Speaking from personal knowledge, I can tell you those tests are in no shape, manner, or form fun. The journalist posed a most interesting question regarding modern education, asking, "What happened to time for fun, football games, and memories of life in high school?" Surely if national rankings were based on the overall academic, athletic, and social experience of young adults, County High would find its name at the TOP of the list.

In my mind, the perfect kind of high school experience takes place here at County High. Looking back on the past four years, I have done my fair share of complaining, but I wouldn't have wanted to complain about anything else with anyone else. We've pleaded with teachers and staff to let us into football games, basketball games, and school dances without our school ID's, simply because we didn't feel like carrying them. We've managed to sneak water bottles, milk shakes, and French fries out of the cafeteria, while also managing to get caught every now and then. We've argued that our pink and tan polos actually resemble shades of orange and white, and when it came to a senior class trip, we simply couldn't bear 180 more days without one.

Over the past four years, I hope you have tried to find the best in every situation and look for the best in every person. To me, County High has been the greatest place to experience high school, and you, my classmates, my friends, my best friends, you have made the past four years enjoyable and survivable. I honestly couldn't have asked for a more intelligent, more talented, and more promising group of people to spend four entire years of my life with. Where else can you sign out of school early with 30 classmates simply to spend a sunny afternoon on the beach? Where else is there a basketball-player who refers to himself as "Big Mac" and a Prom Queen who answers to "Fatty McFat-Fat?

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Obviously, the thing I will miss most about high school is all of you. When I asked for your input on my speech, the majority begged me to not simply repeat a cliche. As much as I want to say, "Reach for the stars," "Stop to smell the roses," "Believe in yourself," and "Dare to dream," you do not really want to hear anything of the sort tonight. And so, I apologize if I am somewhat cliché, but can you blame me for admitting, in front of your family and closest friends, that you are an absolutely awesome group of people and reminding you how proud I feel to graduate with you this evening?

We've spent four years finding ourselves, discovering the highlights and nuances within our personalities, thoughts, and beliefs. We've decided if we are logical or creative, Republican or Democrat, college-bound or ready for the workforce. Discovering your goals, passions, and values may have been more difficult for some compared to me, but as a four-year member of the Future Business Leaders of America, I can definitely confirm that I will never actually become a business leader. Four years, however, have been at my disposal to make friends, have deep conversations, and laugh uncontrollably—all while spending time with you. In the midst of roaming hallways, cheering for athletes, and participating in endless school-sponsored events, I have discovered myself with your help.

To the class of 2012: Thank you for being part of my past four years, and for letting me be part of yours. Good luck, God Bless, and as always, I love you.
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