The speeches that didn’t make it, Part II
by Aaron Zelinger and Alex Carter
Published June 1, 2012
The Paly Voice acquired the following speech from the author, with the author’s consent to publish. The author wrote the speech with the intention of giving it at graduation, 2012, but was not selected. Each speech in this series underwent a judging process in which the author performed in front of four teachers, Tuesday, after school. The teachers were as follows: Matt Hall, Erin Angell, Julia Taylor and Arnie Lim. The views in this speech do not necessarily reflect the views of The Paly Voice, nor those of its staff.
by Alex Carter
Hello, and congratulations, Paly class of 2012!
While reflecting on my high school experience, I found that it was not much like the high schools in Hollywood. There were no (intentionally) cruel teachers, no detentions, no bullies giving swirlies, and there wasn’t much Glee-inspired choreographed singing.
The weird thing is that high school does have a lot of movie elements. The Bhangra club made sure there was a lot of choreographed dancing.
High school, like most movies, follows good storytelling principles. There is a beginning, middle, and an end. There are protagonists, like us, and antagonists, like work and colleges. I’d like to thank Ms. Tokheim, my sophomore English teacher, who taught me that antagonists don’t have to be people.
I’m not sure what movie genre Paly is, because it has a bit of everything. There were definitely some comedic moments, like Winston sumo wrestling during Spirit Week, or the student-staff basketball game. There were horror elements; lots of screaming and running around, especially before math tests. There were athletic glories like a good sports film – the back-to-back volleyball state championships come to mind. Like a romance, there was lots of bromance. Like a James Franco movie, there was a lot of James Franco hanging around.
As with all great epics, there is personal growth involved. We protagonists have changed in a lot of ways. We have grown intellectually, because this is school. We have each engaged in some degree of self-discovery, finding new interests and shedding old ones. We have overcome some of the hurdles and struggles that accompany adolescence, and we have each grown stronger as a result. More importantly, we have gained a set of skills for overcoming the challenges we will face later in our lives.
I would be remiss to leave out the supporting characters. Think about it. All great movie heroes have friends and mentors to help them on their journey. Frodo had Sam and Gandalf in “Lord of the Rings”, Luke Skywalker had Han Solo and Obi Wan in “Star Wars” and James Franco had Seth Rogen in “Pineapple Express”. We each have our own band of supporting characters – parents, siblings, friends, teammates, teachers, coaches, counselors and administrators. These people have shaped us and helped make us who we are. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.
Sometimes it is easy to take Palo Alto’s opportunities, and our successes, for granted, so don’t do that. Our class has been insanely successful while still in high school, earning recognition for academics, sports and virtually any other endeavor we pursue. I can’t wait to see where we all end up. I predict that the eloquent Aaron Zelinger will ascend to the office of world dictator for life. I predict that the beautiful Byron Sanborn will become a swimsuit model slash marine mammal. I can’t wait to see what we do.
I cannot possibly express my gratitude at having attended Paly with this bunch of hooligans, these action heroes, geniuses, comedians, superstar athletes, rebel leaders, and all the other characters around me.
This is the end, but it’s not THE END. We will take all our skills, our knowledge and our experiences with us as we ride off into the sunset, and prepare ourselves for a bunch of awesome sequels.
Editor’s note: Alex Carter, the author of this speech, is currently a staff writer for The Paly Voice. To avoid a conflict of interest, he was not involved in the editing process of this article.
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