SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

June 13, 2014

Jackson Stevens' graduation speech

First, I would like to welcome you to Salem Academy’s 2014 graduation!!! To all the families, friends, loved ones, teachers, and Vanessas here today, I would just like to say thank you for coming and supporting us- now and on our journey through High school.

I would like to thank the academy …

I would like to thank all my teachers who helped us through  Salem Academy.   I would like to thank my family. My mom, step-dad, Uncle Brian, Aunty Shelly, Uncle Danny, Aunty Donna, Lulu and Papa. Who have been my main motivation to work hard and be the individual who I am and I love you all.

I would like to thank everyone in my graduation class for journeying with me but specifically Aaron and Nadia who have been by my side and are more like siblings. And to my fellow graduates, I would just like to say three words… We did it!!!! Going to school at Salem Academy, at times, it was a struggle. We would want to raise our fists to the gods and scream “Why do I go here” but at other times the stress of senior year slipped away- like when we were singing Beyonce in the small, small hallway of the senior area. We as a class know how to have a good time and make the best of every situation.

As an example, in one of the more stressful parts of the year- when we had a paper for what seemed like every class because I swear the teachers plot against us - Mayrenny and I were hanging up an absurd number of student government posters, when she asked me the hardest question I have ever encountered in all of my years. “What’s your my favorite memory of high school?” I had no answer at the time so I just mumbled on until she lost interest. But the question stayed with me . And I never found one single answer. Here are just a few:

-The Great KickBall Battle of 2014!! It was a perfect day to do physical activities. The sun was shining and the birds were chirping in the distance. We faced an opponent like no other, some people describe them as the Taylor Swift of KickBall- we faced the juniors. Going into this the seniors were mentally prepared to not try and just have fun. By the end of the game we sportst our hearts out and left our blood, sweat and tears on that field, however we lost by a landslide but we won in fun.

The next memories are not a moment but a room. When you poll the seniors what their favorite classroom in the school is they would probably all say The Art Room. We find it the most relaxing place in the school, like there’s some enchantment that was cast many many moons ago that banned stress. You could find us there most of the time studying for finals, chillaxing, or eating lunch. We would often sit in there and talk about the future and what fun times lay ahead at college. I remember the Friday before graduation Marisa and I were both talking about our fears starting at new schools next year. But the Art room is the perfect environment for conversations like that. It gave us a place to feel not only welcomed all the time but gave us a teacher who truly cared about each and every senior. And that’s what made the Art room such a special place full of memories. And I would like to thank Ms.Geden, on behalf of all the seniors, for providing us with that space at Salem Academy.

The last memory is from my time in elementary school. We as a class weren't together yet but we all experienced this same memory. When we were younger we had crazy dreams of what we wanted to be when we were older. Alex wanted to be a zookeeper for dinosaurs, Nadia wanted to be a witch, and I wanted to legally change my name to Shark. But as we got older, we became more practical and lost that part of us that dreamed. I'm only 18 -  I haven’t been on this earth for very long  -  but I think that part of us is so important because dreaming the unimaginable and being practical gives us the perfect tether between the stars and the ground.

That was 10 years ago, and there’s so much we've all been through and we did none of it alone.  I therefore think it appropriate to end with a quote by Robin Williams “As we come to the end of this phase of our life, we find ourselves trying to remember the good times and trying to forget the bad times, and we find ourselves thinking about the future. We start to worry , thinking, "What am I gonna do? Where am I gonna be in ten years?" But I say to you...Please, don't worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth. Life is fleeting. And if you're ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky...And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day... make a wish...Make your life spectacular. I know I did. I made it, Mom. I'm a grown up.””’   THANK YOU!!!!!

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