The Paly Voice acquired the following speeches from their authors, with their authors’ consent to publish. The authors wrote the speeches with the intention of delivering them at graduation, but were not selected. Each speech went through an evaluation process on May 19 by a panel of staff members. The views stated in these speeches do not necessarily reflect the views of The Paly Voice, nor those of its staff.
by Yumi Temple
Hello Paly parents, relatives, faculty and students. Thank you all so much for being in attendance today to celebrate the achievements of the graduating class of 2014. My name is Yumi Temple, and I am a proud member of this graduating class, to whom I address this message.
We live in a world with numerous problems: poverty, global warming, and war are just the start. In the face of such daunting issues, some may conclude that we must wait until we’re older to impact our world. However, I respectfully disagree. When I look at this class, I see a passion for the betterment of this world, that outshines any inexperience, and a certain shameless optimism that makes me believe in our power for change. I see individuals alive with an irrepressible exuberance for change, and I see this zeal every day, in a classmate’s compassion towards autistic children or in another’s pursuit of gender equality. I ﬁrmly believe that each of us has a passion and a gift that we must give back, no matter our age or experience: and the beautiful thing is that we get to witness this process of giving back every day.
Each day, my classmates give their gifts back to our community through tutoring, volunteer work at animal shelters and senior centers, involvement in athletics, and in congratulating a friend on beating 2048 and more. Every day, small gifts of kindness, determination, and knowledge are given and reciprocated. The gifts we’ve given back show how much we already impact our world, despite our inexperience. As young as we are, we make a difference to each other, and even better than witnessing the amazing gifts and passions of my classmates, is knowing that as we take up the mantle of responsibility as adults within our society, our impact will only grow, until perhaps one day, we solve the problems of this age.
One of my inspirations is The Dalai Lama, and he said “In order to carry a positive action, we must develop here a positive vision,” and my vision for the future is overwhelmingly positive, where the young adults of today grow into the adults of tomorrow, and never lose the vivacity and inspiration that makes them an integral component of change in our world. We have the potential to do great things in the
future, but also the ability to do those things now. Looking at all of you today, that present potential is evident. I’m so proud of everything we’ve achieved together, and so excited to see what effects our individual gifts and passions will have on the world.
Thank you for everything you’ve taught me, and congratulations to the Class of 2014