San Antonio Express-News (Sunday)
Good afternoon, everyone! First, and foremost, I’d like to thank the powers that be for allowing me to step up to the podium today, but more importantly, I’d like to thank each and every guest here for allowing me to spend the past four years among such wonderful and incredible students.
All of the parents and guardians here have had to make constant sacrifices for their children, whether it be waking up early for Corps of Cadets formations or coming up with private school tuition, but oftentimes we students find ourselves complaining and forgetting about all that. I know that I sometimes struggle to convey just how thankful I am for this opportunity to my own parents, and I suspect I’m not the only one, so on behalf of the entire graduating class, thank you. And take comfort knowing that your investment has certainly paid off with all of these awesome students.
No matter when we first stepped foot on campus, whether it was
6th grade or last year, the TMI community has always been exceptionally welcoming, and the class of 2021 exemplifies this like no other. I can still vividly recall the start of 9th grade when we were all a bunch of bumbling freshmen trying to sort out where we were going to sit and who we were going to talk to because there were so many new faces we didn’t recognize. We wandered through the halls trying to find Mr. Phillippi’s or Mr. Davis’s rooms, not having any clue how incredible all of our teachers would be. Of course, as the year went on, we all settled into our friend groups and claimed our portions of campus where we’d
all hang out during flex time (free periods), but at the end of the day, we were unified as the class of 2021.
As we climbed up the food chain and became sophomores, then juniors and now seniors, we went through a lot. We’ve had the highs of homecomings and military balls, the lows of COVID and college applications and the consistent march of homework and projects matched with a ridiculous amount of procrastination. Looking back on it as a whole, it seems as though it went by in the blink of an eye, but remembering each and every sleepless night, sports game, club meeting and schoolwide email chain makes it feel like we’ve spent an entire lifetime here.
Of course, our life at TMI is forged by far more than just the students.
I already mentioned a couple of the faculty and I’m afraid I can’t mention too many more since it would take the rest of my time, but each and every teacher I’ve had at TMI has poured their heart and soul into teaching me everything they can, and I know I’m not alone in this thought. Just like I said earlier, we sometimes struggle to express our gratitude for everything our gracious teachers have done for us, choosing to cut corners and complain instead, so I once again apologize on behalf of all of us. You’ve all played instrumental roles in forming who we are today, and that’s something we can never repay.
Likewise, the amount of work done by Sage Dining (our food service), Security, IT, Facilities and so many more often goes completely unnoticed and unthanked. Especially given the crazy circumstances of this past year, I feel that all the people who help TMI run smoothly deserve a massive thank-you from not just the graduating class but everyone.
I’m sure there are plenty more people who are owed a thank-you that I’m forgetting about, but I’m afraid I must move on. You see, in just a few short months, the class of 2021 will be scattered across the world, starting new chapters and leaving behind so many people who have become pillars in our lives. While the future is excitingly bright for everyone here, it’s still difficult to overlook the sad reality that we won’t be passing each other in the halls every day and sitting next to one another in All Saints Chapel. But just as the life lessons and technical skills we’ve learned will continue to stick with us wherever we go, I hope TMI’s sense of community sticks with us as well.
Sure, we’ll be surrounded by all sorts of new people, but that doesn’t mean we need to leave behind the values and vibes that have made our time at this school so special. Even though we are and always will be bonded together as Panthers, we cannot forget that above all else, this school has prepared us to be servant leaders. We can continue to see the light in everyone around us, whether it’s a new professor, a friend or a food service worker. Likewise, we must continue loving our neighbors, regardless of if that love is reciprocated. The class of 2021 has had no trouble doing these things before, so I’m confident we’ll continue to bring love and continue to serve no matter where we are.
As my time dwindles, I’d like to end off by thanking one final person who has truly helped define the TMI experience for not only myself but the entire graduating class. None of us would be who we are today without the continual support and presence of one of our classmates, the one and only Leon Toursarkissian. In addition to being absolutely brilliant, he is a beacon of positivity who brings the class together. He was the first person I met at this school and has continually been a loyal friend, whether it’s helping with homework or simply bringing some laughs.
Leon, I’m sure you’re going to do incredible things.
And with that, I’m afraid your nap is over and my time is done. As I said at the very start, it’s been an honor to spend the last four years with such amazing people surrounding me on all sides. This doesn’t even begin to encapsulate it, but all I can say is thank you, TMI.