North Shore Technical High School held its final graduation Friday, May 30. The following is the text of Class of 2014 valedictorian Demir Taruz's commencement speech.
Good evening fellow students and honored guests. Tonight I would like to begin with familiar words:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—, I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.” Those words end Robert Frost’s poem, "The Road Not Taken." This has been North Shore Tech’s unofficial motto since the school moved to Middleton in 1998.
It should hold meaning to all of us because we are all vocational students. Each of us decided to choose North Shore Tech rather than a traditional academic high school. Four years ago, we came to a fork in the road and decided to choose the path less traveled by most of our peers. Now we have almost reached the end of that road, and I would like to reflect on how non-traditional education has changed us. The last time I was in a traditional school was the third grade at Horace Mann Laboratory School in Salem. When I finished third grade, I transferred to Marblehead Charter School. I was following in my brother’s footsteps, as he had gone to that school, and at the time, I didn’t understand that I had made a non-traditional choice. It felt the same to me. It was school. My mom even said it was no different. After four years my feelings hadn’t changed.
Now as I look back I realize that the charter school had a significant impact on me. At the end of every term we had what was called “exhibition,” which was a night where all the students presented projects they had worked on for the term to parents and people from the community. It honestly felt really pointless at the time, but it helped me work on an incredibly important skill, public speaking. I don’t know of any other middle schools that help build public speaking skills. Do a project, write a reflection on it, and then move on to the next. Personally, I find that boring. Who, at the age of 14, would want to present a term project? I did. As graduation for Marblehead Charter was approaching, I knew I wanted to go to North Shore Tech. I had visited the school in sixth grade when my brother was looking for high schools. From then on I was hooked at North Shore Tech because of the ITS program.