Dear faculty and teachers, parents, fellow graduates. So, when I found out I had give to give a speech in front of the entire school I was horrified. What should I say? I’m not even done with school yet. I’ve been here for only 6 months, which doesn’t seem very long compared to your four years. Still, let me start with thanking a few people. First of all, Mr Weimer, for well, letting me go here in the first place. I came to the town of Keyser on Christmas Eve, with no idea if I was going to stay here, and where, or IF I would go to school here. Actually, they wanted to ship me off to Florida. The fact that I’m still here is thanks to the Boggs family who took me in for the first few weeks. Thanks Hannah for sleeping in the basement and giving me your bed. Thank you Miss Warrick by the way, for letting me join Band without knowing how to play any instrument. It’s been great; I wish I would have had more time with the amazing people I met there. And thanks to my other teachers, Ms Biser, Drama has been wonderful and I can honestly say that doing Drama and standing on a stage again has inspired me made me truly happy. Thanks to Mr Piraino and Mr Liebig for teaching me and in the case of sociology, really getting me interested in how different our societies are. Thank you to my wonderful Hostfamily the Ack-Courriers. I love you and I’m going to miss you. Actually, thanks to all of you who are here today, because I felt nothing but acceptance and friendliness since the day I came to this school. Yeah some of you still think I’m from Australia, but I can forgive that.
Now, like I said, I may graduate, but I’m 16 and when I get back to Austria, I’ll have another year of school so I can’t really give you any advice on college stuff. But I just want to say that
Whether the last four years were totally awesome for you, or they sucked, it doesn’t matter anymore, because you can start with a blank slate. And let’s be honest, these 4 years here were not the best years of your life. I still hope they were great though. Some of you probably think you’ve learned absolutely nothing in this High School, but that’s not true. Regardless of what you learned in your classes, I’m sure you learned a lot out of class. You learned what friendships means, how relationships work, what it feels like to have our heart broken, you learned that sometimes hard work gets rewarded, but more often it gets not and yeah the world is unfair but people can be great. It’s not about Math or History, if you don’t get a job in that field, six or seven years down the road you’ll have no idea exactly who was who in the Civil War or how to solve an equation with three variables. But you’ll remember who your best friend was, , who you liked in 10th grade and who you sat with at lunch table and complained with about the bad food, and I WILL remember White girl Soldiers.
Still, I bet most of you are glad to get out of here. Some of you, me included, might leave with a more bittersweet feeling because you are leaving behind and important part of your life and a pretty stable and predictable institution and have to be a bit more responsible now and stand on your own two feet. I’m not only leaving this school, I’m leaving this country too, so I do feel a bit sad. Obviously I’m happy to see my parents and friends again, and my city with its glorious public transport, but even though I’m definitely not a small town girl, I loved living here in Keyser and I love the people here. I learned so much during this year, about myself, what I want to do with my life, about my values, I learned who my real friends are, and I made wonderful new ones. Especially those wonderful girls from all around the world, who showed me that despite our differences and everything that’s going on with politics today, even though we always talk about "us" and "them" us teenagers can still come together and obsess about a musical set in 19th century France together. I think that’s great and I wish I could stay o rat least say more.
I wish all the graduates only the best in life, no matter what choices you make, if you go to college or to work or to have a family. No matter what it is, do it because it makes you happy and not because others expect you to. And don’t expect others to do what you think is good and right, always respect other life choices. Do good wherever you can and I know I’m starting to sound sappy, but, go through the world with open eyes and go to different places because you’ll meet wonderful people and can learn so much and have a great time too. I know I had. Thank you.