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 Travis Chen
Hello friends, teachers, parents, and grandparents of 2014 – I’m honored to speak in front of all of you today; it’s been quite a ride. If you were expecting a forward-looking, philosophically dense, and mature recollection of our potential for the future, I apologize in advance, because today, I invite us to take the magic school bus ride back in time.
For those of you who aren’t in line with the debacle we know as Facebook, Paly had a competition first semester to determine who had the best statuses of 2008-2010, the dark ages known as middle school. For the sake of minimizing embarrassment for those brave individuals who submitted statuses, I’ll maintain anonymity, but I do want to share a few highlights: “When life hands u crap make crap-aid” [pause] “How the [F] do people get such high scores in doodle jump” [pause] “give me farm-ville presents!!” [pause] “I’m peeing myself” [pause] “Yes!! Over 200 friends!!” [pause] My god! “terrible star test scores. I’m so mad! 🙁 “ [pause] “Merry Christmas people!!! OMG Santa’s gonna break into my house in a couple hours!!! YAYYAYAYAYA!!!!” who by the way was already a freshman by the time he wrote this. [pause] “my mom just counted 27 dog poops, guess my brother and sis haven’t really been doing their job” [pause] and my personal favorite “via Jonas Brothers Live Video Chat. If u cud go enywhere in the world wher wud u go?” – By the way, seniors, I’m sorry if I haven’t chosen yours, I promise I still think whatever you said was hilarious. This, I believe, captures the true spirit and mysteries of youth – our priorities may have shifted, from Doodlejump to SAT scores, from the Jonas Brothers and 2009 Miley Cyrus to 2014 Miley Cyrus, but the fundamental questions withstand the test of time: if you could do anything, what would you do with your life, where would you go, and who would you meet?
On the last day of our momentous Facebook contest, incidentally on the day before early apps were due, one of its organizers announced: “Deadline is tonight at midnight! Do this instead of college apps! College is only 4 years, but high school popularity is forever!” He’s right, [pause] in some ways. As we move forward into college, work, traveling abroad, I invite us to look back at the limitless potential of our youth and what we envisioned our future to be and whether it lines up. This does not imply that we should remain stuck in our past and its exigencies, but rather that we should draw upon the same energy of our youth as the guiding spirit for the future and its boundless potential. In the same way that we think Santa, Farm-Ville, and STAR test scores are beyond us, we may one day view our frenzy for college apps, grades, and Flappy Bird as silly. But what remain eternal is our energy, curiosity, and desire to progress. From Ms. Choy’s lively puns to Mr. Bungarden’s occasional moments of youthful pure joy, the spirit of youth exists within all of us. Our search for what is valuable is elusive as times change what we view as important, but ultimately, this search itself is what is valuable.
Today signifies the day that we move on, 4 years older than when we first stepped foot on this campus, but let’s not forget to live life, doodle jump, keep dreaming, and most of all, stay young.