MTHS Class of 2018 President Jack Motherway
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Ladies and gentleman of the Class of 2018 - we made it.
While most of my assembled classmates here today know who I am, to address the friends, family and loved ones gathered tonight, my name is Jack Ryan Motherway and I am the President of the Class of 2018. I thank you all for joining our class tonight in celebrating the close of this chapter in our lives and uniting in our anticipation for whatever should come next. Journeys are always best made with company, so I thank you for being ours.
On the topic of thanks, I would like to take a moment to thank some special people in the audience tonight, if you would indulge me. To Mama - there is not a person in the world that compares to you. You are equal parts strong and compassionate - you lift the world with a finger and rest it softly among the stars. I would be a lesser man today without the care you have raised me with and the truly heroic example you have set for me. To Dad - in these recent years, I have come to realize that what I am is a carbon copy of you, if with a couple less wrinkles. The thought is… a little frightening, if we’re being honest, but mostly I am counting down the minutes until I grow up and take on the world the way you have - if I age to become half the man you are, I will be a happy man indeed. To my sisters, Madison, Kate and Caroline - thank you for filling my life with the joy you have. I have enjoyed so much watching all of you grow up and become the wonderful young women you are today, and I look forward to seeing all that you will accomplish. And to my future sibling, due on July 14th - I can’t wait to meet you, and for you to come and completely outshine the rest of us.
A huge thanks to the staff of MTHS for teaching me invaluable lessons both in and out of the textbooks, lessons which I know will stay with me for the rest of my life.
But, most importantly, I would like to thank the Class of 2018 for truly being the deciding factor of who I am today. Four years ago, I was a different person. I was quiet, reserved, against any form of public presentation - if I were to give this speech to all of you as Jack from back then, chances are good I would have passed out on the stage two paragraphs ago. But when student elections for class president first rolled around, something possessed 8th grade me to give it a shot. My election speech was timid, soft-spoken and awkward in the way that everything in middle school was, but collectively all of you watched me and decided to give me a chance. I cannot thank you enough for that. Your belief in me opened my world up, trading nerves for confidence and hesitation for determination. While before I would have a panic attack talking in front of an audience, now most of the people I know wish I would quit talking quite so much. You have transformed me, and I cannot imagine what my life would be like without what all of you have done for me. Thank you.
Before I leave you this final time tonight, I would like to touch on the guiding principle of my high school career, the one that spurred me to run for the council position that I am speaking for now, and that one rule is: say yes. “Yes” and “No” are extremely powerful words, and while “No” can certainly be the right answer at times, the word “Yes” moves mountains. Opportunities, those fleeting things that we will all spend our college years feverishly searching for, can be unassuming, hard to recognize for what they are. Say “Yes” to the small things and watch where they take you. A high school video course can lead to a school news show, a role in an ensemble can become a lead in a musical, an extracurricular activity can create a lifetime of friendship. Say “Yes”, and life will return the favor.
We are all of us now standing on a dock looking out upon the endless ocean that lies before us. While before we would swim on the shores guided by the lighthouses of our families and loved ones, it is now that we must set off on our own. We will never explore the entirety of this world ocean, we won’t come close, but that makes it all the more important to search of it what we can. We must chase our passions tirelessly and find those chances to say “Yes”.
To paraphrase Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” We as the Class of 2018, born 1999-2000, are the men and women of a new millenia. I wish you all the best of luck in your journey ahead. Bon voyage, and thank you.