PLEASE HELP! What do you think of this? :)?

Note that this is a valedictorian speech for grade 8, and that it is incomplete. I am looking for honest feedback, so feel free to be harsh :)

(names of people and places are omitted)

Thanks xx :)

Hello and welcome staff, family, friends and of course my fellow graduates. Thank you for taking your time to come today. Before I commence my speech, I would like to assure my fellow classmates that this will certainly not be one of those cliché-loaded ten-minute speeches where I will tell you to reach for the stars or whatever while inducing sleep. This will be around six minutes tops, seven minutes if no one laughs, the latter of which seems likelier.

Graduation. It is the day that we’ve been marking down on our calendars, the event we have spent hours fussing over outfit after outfit for, the very thing that has been on our minds for the past few weeks besides One Direction or NHL playoffs. And now, after twenty months at [ ], we are now here, all dressed up the way we had imagined ourselves to be (hopefully), sitting down together with our diplomas, the graduating class of 2013. This is so hard to believe, but everything we have done here, all that hard work, all those experiences—it all leads to this. It is here. It is now. It—is—happening.

Though today is a day of celebration for our accomplishments, a toast to us, the graduating class of we made it!, today is also a day to recognize the parting of the ways. Our time here at [ ] is fast approaching its close, and we now have high school looking us right back in the face. Look around you. Can you guarantee that all of the people you see here will still be with you when September comes around? Or the September after that? Can you still guarantee that, the next time you sit down with fellow schoolmates in a similar fashion, all dressed in the same robes and carrying your diploma, graduating from secondary school at last, the people you see now will also be there with you? Even if you can say yes to that, are you sure that they can stay with you all your life? There will be that point in life when you will have to say your goodbyes, when these people that you care about and hold so close to your heart right now will become only memories years from now. For some, the day might be far, far away, but it is still as inevitable as the fact that we will all die some day.

Which leads me to (part of) my main topic today, which can be put into only five little words: you are going to die. We are all going to die. To quote a certain Brad Pitt film, on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero. I know this is a strange observation to make, especially during a graduation, as us graduates are, after all, either fourteen or nearing fourteen years of age and we have a long, long way to go before we can even consider such things. But death is unbiased: no matter what our age, gender, race, social or intellectual status might be, it is a truth for every single one of us: we are going to die. And what will you have accomplished?

Contrary to what your very supportive friends might believe, your high killstreaks on Black Ops, where you buy your jeans, the titles you won in FIFA 13 and your numerous dance accolades will not matter. Not in the future, at least, and especially not when you’re dead. It is intriguing to see how quickly the value of particular things like those can depreciate over time, and how they suddenly become absolutely nothing once the owner is gone. They will not be us, or ours, when we pass away. Like the friends we will tearfully separate from in the future, we will become only memories, which may possibly include these. We will only be the old photos from our Facebooks and Twitters and Instagrams, perhaps. We will be the stories that our children will tell their children, and only if we’re interesting enough to them. We will be pieces of conversation floating around between old friends, parts of the past and a never future that could have been. We will be past regrets, tales of high suspense, great joys and deep, dark heartbreak. That is all we will be in the end, bits and pieces of memories gathered together. Stories.

But **, you may say, this is a graduation, for goodness sake, not a sobfest! Why in the world are we talking about our deaths? To which I reply: because I said so. But it is only part of the message I am trying to convey. The rest is condensed into a single question: what will you do?

1 Answer

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Make sure not to get carried away or get too off topic.

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