Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A commencement speech

At 8th grade graduation, we always select two students to give commencement addresses. It's always two kids who have been there for a while, one boy, one girl, and they must embody our school's mission. This year, I helped the male student, Patrick, with his speech. It's so amazing, to come from him, to see how he has evolved since I first met him two years ago. I wanted to share it, because I'm so proud of it.

"My name is Patrick P. I promised my teachers this would not be a football story, but Ms. M [That would be me] said that if I could make a good, honest analogy between school and football, I could work it in. As a result, I would like to say that school is like a football game.

"School and football have more similarities than what you think. Your schoolmates are like your teammates, your teachers are your coaches, and Mr. E is the Commissioner. Just recently, my man, Brett Favre, (Best of all time) played 17 years in the NFL. You go to school, if you’re lucky enough, for 18 years. As I think winning games is being lucky, but putting in the work to succeed, I feel that finishing school is the same. In a football game, you have obstacles that you face, like a third and ten or a giant linebacker. In school, you also have obstacles like acing the tasks that get thrown at you.

"But when I look at school, when I look at football, and when I look at life, it’s all about going forward. You can’t go forward without making mistakes. When you work hard, you might take 5 steps forward, but you may end up having to take two steps back. In school, you might not get an A on every paper. You might put in the effort and put in the work, but you may come inches short of a first down. But then you get up, you get a new formation, and you try to attack the defense again. And you succeed.

"In his 17 years, Brett Favre saw a lot of wins and losses. He also saw players, coaches, and commissioners come and go. In my 6 years at Holy Rosary, I’ve seen a lot of wins and losses, and I’ve had my share of players, coaches, and commissioners come and go, too. Father T, Mr. B, and Mrs. P are three of those commissioners. Without their help and guidance, I would not be standing here today. With change comes growth and success. Father R and Mr. E have done an excellent job of leading our team to victory. Mrs. McN is our Brett Favre. She is retiring this year, like Brett, and I appreciate the special relationship we’ve had these last 6 years. I’ve also known Mrs. S for 6 years. I don’t know how she does it, but she’s the most mild-mannered person I’ve ever met. She’s taught me how to tolerate difficulties in school and life. I also want to thank Coach F for teaching me the way the game is supposed to be played. Even though I’ve only known Ms. M for 2 years, we’ve discovered a bond between us that can never be broken. Mrs. B, crazy Ms. B. This “child of God” would like to thank you for all of your patience and understanding. Ms. C, Mr. G, and Coach I, I’ve only known you for a few months, but I appreciate you just as much as Mrs. S and Ms. McN, who I’ve known for 6 years.

"Daniel B and Michael A are the two teammates I’ve known the longest. I really want to thank them for their friendship and support during all of the success and falls I’ve taken over the years.

"I also would like to thank my family for their support and for teaching me to love school and football.

"I would like to end by telling everyone that we can win championships if we work together and stand by God. Thank you."

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