The 8th grade ceremony, my speech
As I started to prepare for tonight, I had a few selfish moments. While I have been a school administrator for a while, this group is a first for me. Before this year, I have never been with a group of students from the first moment of 6th grade until the last moment of 8th grade. It’s a honor I won’t soon forget, and you’re beyond the best possible group I could have asked to share this personal milestone with.
When I considered what to say, I wanted to offer one last piece of advice, from me to you, this evening. In three years, I’ve shared several tips, and I wanted to offer just one more. It comes from a story, one my parents read to me and that I read to my daughter from time to time, titled Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.
While many focus on the character without a name who, after relenting, finally eats his green eggs and ham, I want to talk tonight for a moment about Sam. Sam has a quality I hope you will take with you from your time at Oakview, persistence. He hears “I do not like that Sam I am,” “I would not eat them here or there, I would not eat them anywhere.” In the story, he is denied 12 times. But, on number 13, he finally gets what he wants. Persistence is the ability to carry on, to keep going, and to stay focused on your goals when they are distant or when things don’t go your way.
After you leave Oakview, you will face instances where you don’t get the grade you want, or are not hired for the job you apply for. At one time or another, you’ll come up short for an award, you won’t get the part or the solo, or your team will lose a big game. These challenges are all opportunities. When they arise, you can stop and quit, or you can persevere.
Sam gets knocked down 12 times, but gets up 13. Like him, each of you has the ability to persevere. Each of you will face challenges. My advice to you is to never stop chasing your goals. Persevere.