Graduation time erupts a slew of emotions from places in your body you did not even know existed. Your cheeks may swell up and turn red, your fingers may tingle, and your heart might just palpitate with panic. It may feel like a tornado is in your stomach, then your legs might shake helplessly, and you may literally heat up like a volcano. I know that was dramatic, but you know what I mean. Some of you will really feel this before you walk across the stage.
Furthermore, I recall sitting at many graduations – whether it was mine, a relative, or former students – fighting my sentimental side. I remember going through a metamorphosis – trying to hold back my tears of pride, fear, relief, confusion, and happiness wrapped up into what ended up being an extremely ugly cry.
Now, we cannot forget the infamous moments at graduation when you hear proud voices in the audience, saying: “Yeah, that’s my Baby!” Next, you may hear a sea of whispers with reactions such as, “Pause – wait a minute, look at those pumps! I hope she doesn’t fall in those stilts and look at him with those celebrity shades on – I thought he was getting a diploma, not a Grammy. LOL. Then, you may hear random voices in the crowd including students and teachers gossiping, ”You know he should not have been the valedictorian or they just passed her because the principal was tired of her frequent visits to the office.” Furthermore, the helpless teachers and principals are replying in their anxious minds, Don’t blame it on me, blame it on the alcohol from Happy Hour, I mean the “No Child Left Behind Act”. Lastly, parents are sitting in the audience wondering, “Why didn’t my child get an award? I worked hard doing those projects! I’m joining the PTA next year! I am tired of the educational politics!”
Ok, back to my graduation speech – Accomplishing a task that has a plethora of personal stories that have taken you through phases of defeat and victories which included mismanaging and maximizing your time, good and bad relationships, late nights and early mornings; in sickness and in health, laughter and anger, finding strength during times of weakness; teaming up with people when you needed leaders to motivate you along the way; not to mention, the after class discussions, negotiating grade policies with teachers hoping for some compassion when you know you did not deserve it; Finally, at the end of the year, you want to become spiritual and say prayers like, God please touch this teacher’s heart. I promise I will go to Sunday School with my mother next week.” I could go on and on with the ups and downs of senior year. I’ve witnessed many of these predictable moments from my high school teaching experience!
One more reflection for students in particular…do you remember in the beginning of the school year setting goals to have straight A’s and then at the end of the first quarter, you said, “She could had at least given me a B.” Second quarter, you promise yourself that you are going to change your life around and become more organized. Unexpectedly you develop this nonchalant attitude by the third quarter saying, “Well, I am just going to “C” my way out of this!” Finally fourth quarter, you are in the counselor’s office, asking him or her, “Isn’t a D passing? or “What if I fail the final, then what’s going to be my final grade?” Next, you find out you’re not walking across the stage because you have obligations. Your response is: “Seriously? It’s not my fault my school was too cheap to purchase an eBook.” Now it’s the two week count down and you just need to find those dusty textbooks. You are so stressed out and you finally say, “Whatever, let me just pay these fines so I can go to prom and ” turn up” at graduation. ”By the way, I do not like the phrase, “Turn up”; just trying to fit in with some of my readers. Love you! Anyway, the stories can go on forever and I hope you finally can laugh about it! This graduation season, you can sigh with relief because you have achieved a monumental goal and you are on the path towards making many more achievements. So congratulations to everyone who made it through a challenging and rewarding school year! I hope you will experience fulfillment during your next endeavor! I salute the Class of 2015!
In closing, here is an excerpt from the first draft of my eBook, “Can I Inspire You With My Imagination?”. I guess I will role play as Superintendent or a political figure. This will be my keynote speech for a high school graduation. Please read below:
“Greatness can be defined in many ways because we all think and view life differently. However, I can stand tall today and humbly acknowledge that “I AM GREAT”. Why? Because my GOD tells me every day that I am great! Even when a person looks, listen, deliberately laughs at me, and judges me negatively or treat me as if I am insignificant, I can stand before you and say only my God can judge me. Also, I can be meek and forgive my doubters because they do not understand my greatness; but my final prayer is for those who perceive me in a negative way to be blessed with wisdom and understanding so that they can acknowledge me and others for our unique greatness.
I, also, can stand before you and accept that I am a winner Why? Because my Higher Power told me that when you complete a task, an annual project, or even a day’s work you are a winner whether you are in the front or in the back of this race called life. You can stumble, you can fall, or even crawl to the finish line, but you are still considered a winner. In fact, this year may not have been your best race, but you are still a winner! You do not have to win an award such as the Teacher of the Year, Employee of the Month, or Student of the Week in order to believe in the greatness in which you possess, but someone has to be chosen to be recognized.
So maybe you could recognize yourself instead. What is it that you possess that no one else can take away because you are wonderfully and uniquely made? Reflect and become aware of the talents, skills, and hobbies you have or pay attention to what others have acknowledged about you. Then, begin strategizing on how you can develop and market your skills, talents, and hobbies, which one day can become your dream career or even a successful business. So now that I’ve shifted your mind on what is so unique about you, how do you feel right now envisioning about how you can make your passion pay by being in tune with what brings you joy or makes you feel fulfilled?
Now I want to again focus on the word, “greatness”. Something we all have, yet in a traditional education system, some people just do not meet the standard. Well, how is that so? When you measure my greatness to your greatness, I am not good enough? Even when I produce results, I am not good enough because of this standard or barrier that the traditional education system has created. For decades education’s traditional standards are based on content competency only, which means if I am not competent in a certain content area or if I do not comprehend how you deliver information to me, then I may be called a failure.
It’s so unfortunate that these traditional standards have impacted lives of students – determining their successes and failures in life, directing their college and career paths based on test scores and even influencing their future socio-economic status. With this type of linear education infrastructure, some students and teachers are kind of confused about the direction they want to take. There is an imbalance between what they are currently doing in the classroom or professionally and what they really want to do with a passion. However, if properly supported by your parents, teachers, or leaders, your true existence will be clear and inspired with great purpose!”
© 2015, Marian S. Moore, All Rights Reserved
If you are interested in reading more of the first draft of my eBook, check it out on Amazon’s website. I hope that today I Inspired You With My Motivational Speech!”
Marian Serena Moore