Graduation Speeches, a Tale of Two Nicks
Pottstown High School’s graduation on June 15 was a night of speeches given by Valedictorian Nicolas Muriel, Salutatorian Nicholas Irvin and Superintendent Jeff Sparagana. Read more online on Evan Brandt’s blog Digital Notebook, evan-brandt. blogspot.com/2015/06/phs-graduation-speeches-tale-of-two.html.
Valedictorian Nicolas Muriel:
I think I speak for everyone when I say that this past week has felt tumultuous and frenzied, and perhaps the weight of these events can be lost in the bombast. Now is an opportune time to reflect on just what has led to this moment. For most of us, it’s been at least 13 years of determined, rigorous work in the classroom. For many, even more has been applied through humanitarian, communal, and service activities provided through the district. That’s not even getting into the recreational, yet both highly competitive and bonding, activities in the sports field that a noticeable portion of our class have participated in. To have reached this level is a testament to our growth and our character, and that is immensely applaudable.
Of course, now is also opportune to realize the point of no return we are facing in these next few minutes. Regardless of whether one is going to a post- secondary institution, the world of work, or the armed forces, the moment you receive a diploma is the moment your life changes. With the certification of your skills you receive, you are mentally endowed with the obligation to utilize those skills to not only improve your life but also your community. Whether you travel 10 miles or across the world in your future endeavors, the sensibilities and logic you’ve devel-
oped in your school career will aid you in being an exemplary citizen in your life and hopefully those you affect.
Upon realization of what we can be, it would be polite, nigh necessary, to thank those who have helped us reach this point in our lives. The teachers are naturally the first consideration, and I can vouch that the vast majority are not only informative, fair, interesting and constructively critical, but also humorous, relatable, and most importantly joyously purposed in their work... There are also those in our personal lives that help motivate us to succeed. ...
So, class of 2015, in the excitement of today, do not neglect to take some time to take it all in: how much you’ve been able to experience, the people who have helped you along, and what lies ahead. It’s an incredible honor to be speaking to you all today as your valedictorian, and I wish the best of luck in your future endeavors
Next up, of course, is salutatorian Nicholas Irvin:
Good evening everybody. Class of 2015, we did it! We are finally here, graduation day. Looking back on the past more than a decade, I seem to remember everything like it was yesterday...
Now that we sit here on graduation day we can look back at the successes and accomplishments we have created and received. Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” Almost as sure as the world spinning, there has been a time where you have wanted to give up and stop caring, maybe you caught a case of senioritis. While tonight it seems that all of our troubles are going to wash away, more likely than not, you are going to have a lot more problems and struggles that will occur, but don’t let these discourage you.
As I look back on the things that I have done in my life, one thing that really sticks out to me is playing baseball. I started playing when I was five years old. One big thing that I have learned over the years is that everyone fails, but it is playing baseball that helped me realize these next few lessons. On the baseball field, we are told that a player who succeeds three out of ten times is a considered a great player. Failing a couple times does not make you a bad person or a failure, it means that you are human. I have also been taught that there is more likely than not going to be another chance. If you strike out, you can’t give up, you go back to the dugout and wait for the next turn to try again. There will be another chance to make up for the mistake. Never give up because the next chance will come and a time when you least expect it...
I want to end with one final quote. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Keep this in mind as you go on in your life. Don’t be afraid to be different. Put yourself out there. If you want something go for it and don’t be afraid if someone tells you that you can’t. Use their doubt as motivation to fuel your fire and prove them wrong.
Once again thank you to everyone mentioned and congratulations class of 2015, I couldn’t have imagined going through this experience with another group of people. Thank you.
Finally, we give you the remarks of Superintendent Jeff Sparagana:
To the graduates: you are to be commended for achieving this goal.
We are all very proud of you accomplishments. Last evenings Baccalaureate ceremony was a just wonderful tribute to the class of 2015...
Each year we tell the story of Pottstown High School and our outstanding students, families, staff, and administration.
The proof of any successful school system is NOT measured by the School Performance Profile, the Keystone exam or a co-curricular event.
The measure of a successful school system is the end product – its senior graduates of which there are in this our 176th anniversary year is over 19,000 strong. Our graduates have gone on to distinguished careers in many fields including – business, medicine, education, science, the military, entertainment, and other aspects of the Arts, architecture, engineering, college professors, the area of government, law enforcement, just about every field imaginable has been effected by our Graduates.
This event, today, is where the rubber meets the road! Remember, today is an important benchmark in your journey but none the less, just a benchmark, and an important one at that. However, you should know that in this fast paced, digital world of 2015 – 70% of post secondary jobs today require an associate’s degree or equivalent to be employable.
That is why I remind you that this evenings accomplishment, although commendable and cause for celebration, is just a step in the process of your development, a page in the book, maybe a chapter, but clearly not the final chapter in your book of personal growth and development through education, and most definitely not the final step along your path to success in this life...
The Class of 2015 has earned many awards over the years in a wide variety of categories, but today I am here to share with everyone listening that the Class of 2015 has earned a grand total of approximately $2,565,825.00 in scholarships, grants and awards. This is the highest total of any graduating class in recent memory.
I commend the Class of 2015 for your perseverance, determination and dedication to yourselves, your families and your school community. Class of 2015 - You make us all “Proud to be from Pottstown”!
Rea d more online at http://evan-brandt.blogspot.com/2015/06/phsgraduation-speeches-taleof-two.html.
P.H.S. Class of 2015 president Brigid Benfield; Nicholas Irvin, salutatorian and Nicolas Muriel, valedictorian. See more photos on A3.