Friday, June 27, 2008
Carlisle School eighth-grade graduation – June 18, 2008
This year’s graduation speakers were Tilly Barnett and Sarah Brantley. Below are excepts from their speeches. The Mosquito congratulates all members of Carlisle’s class of 2008!
Moving on, step by step
Two years ago, when it was my older sister’s turn to graduate, I didn’t go to the ceremony. In all honesty, I don’t think I ever even saw her wearing her graduation dress. I don’t even know if it registered that that was the day she was going to finalize her departure from our little school. I think I was at a friend’s house or a soccer tryout instead. And truth be told, I don’t think I really cared, or felt like I was missing out.
And now it’s my turn to graduate. Two years ago I had no idea what went into making this ceremony possible. I didn’t know about the rehearsals, I didn’t know there were plans if it rained. I didn’t know how much work was put into this event. You might say, “Big deal, a graduation from eighth grade.”
But for me, and many of my classmates, this is our ninth year at Carlisle, we know our way around pretty well, we’re all comfortable here.
Since seventh grade, I’ve been giving tours of this school to prospective students and their parents. I’ve loved doing it, and it has taught me something. The information I give about the school and the town is similar from one tour to another, but the people who receive that information vary greatly. Some kids are shy, nervous and worried about a transition. Others are outgoing and seem to be eager to start over. A few are understandably sad, but still open to a new experience. All are really the same when it comes to their entry to a new world. Like those new students, we’re not moving away from our friends, but we might lose each other.
The Carlisle Public School has been our safety net. It’s huge to finally be leaving our local comfort zone and moving on to something foreign and new. In sixth grade, when my older sister graduated, I didn’t really understand this. A year was still a lifetime and I had a couple left.
Another concept of graduation I didn’t understand two years ago was the permanence. This is really where it ends for us; as of next fall we’re no longer the oldest in our little school.
Our transition to high school is when we’re supposed to take the reins, take control of our education and our decisions, when we learn to learn on our own. In sixth grade, the teachers still hover over you. From year to year that happens less and less. As time goes by we’re supposed to wean ourselves away from the teacher’s shadow. We go to school to learn.
My sixth-grade self clearly couldn’t see all of this. Recently I realized that this ceremony, this transition from middle school to high school, is a more significant rite of passage than I previously thought. We’re moving away, but taking our memories, we’re growing up and moving on, keeping some people close and inevitably will let others drift away.
Two years ago I fell short for my sister. I was missing out, and I should have cared. I hope that most of you are here because you want to be, but some of you may be attending out of a sense of obligation. Regardless of your motives, we appreciate your presence here.
Right now, my friends and I are starting something big and exciting, and it starts with leaving this school. So thanks for taking the time to come today, and making the effort to join us as we take a step that will, without doubt, lead to another and another as we make our way in life. ∆
School bus memories and lessons learned
I would like to read this quote from Winnie the Pooh, and it’s for all the people who are leaving next year. We’ll miss you.
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.”
Now, it’s finally time to say goodbye to our old stomping ground and move on to bigger and scarier things. I want all of my classmates to take a look around at one another. Look at the people who are now a part of your everyday life, the ones you thought you would never talk to, until you got seated next to them in math class. These are the people who were the first to march up to you in kindergarten with a great big smile and say, “You can share my blocks.” These are the kids who were the first to casually walk up to you on your first day of seventh grade and say, “Wassup?” These are the best friends, the boyfriends, the people who kept us laughing when we felt like weeping, and the people who defended us no matter what. Together, we have grown so much.
Think back to first day of school. Remember that antsy feeling you got in the pit of your stomach, the weird buzzing in your head. I can recall bringing my stuffed animal with me on my first day. His name was Ducky, and he had always made me feel brave. But when I saw the school bus zip down my road, I ran and hid behind a big tree. After my parents coaxed me out from the shrubbery and gently sent me onto the giant yellow bus, I climbed the stairs and slid into my seat, my eyes falling on all the other kids my age. I stared at the little scared faces and the small, shaky hands clutching teddy bears, My Little Ponies, Beanie Babies and Lego sets. I hugged Ducky tightly, and even though I was only five, part of me just knew it was going to be okay.
Sometimes I wish I could still be little. I wish crawling into my mother’s lap could solve all the problems in the world, and I wish that I could drag Ducky around by his wing everywhere I go. And yet, climbing onto that school bus turned out to be one of the best things that I have ever done. Because with it came my best friends, who taught me how to love and who gave love back to me, my passion for art and writing and my sense of who I am and what I stand for. Growing up isn’t easy, but we all have to do it. I am so glad that I was lucky enough to start growing up with all of them.
What will happen to these people? I know that these people behind me, the ones who are proud to be different and driven by the idea of a challenge, are going to do amazing things with whatever path they choose. Whether it’s boarding school, art school, going to Minuteman or CCHS, I know that all of them, every single one, will have amazing experiences along the way.
I also want to remember our parents, for putting up with us when we talked back, or threw a fit. Thank you for letting us come to you when we messed up, and instead of saying, “I told you so,” for comforting us. Thank you to the teachers, for not giving up when we couldn’t pay attention during last period on a Friday, or for trying to stay calm when we broke rules we know exist. You have all helped shape us into who we are today, and who we will be tomorrow. You will be with us in many important ways as we adventure on. All of us will achieve greatness in some way, and we will all thank you.
We are all a family. Even though we may have our moments of rivalry, when it comes down to it, I know that we would all reach out to each other if one of us needed help. Now, each of us will go in separate directions to relive the experience of the big yellow school bus.
But remember, have fun with every step you take, don’t be afraid to dance in the rain, love with all your heart and never let anything get in the way of your dreams. We are the class of 2008, ready for anything, and always will be. ∆
© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito