The speeches that didn't make it, Class of 2013: Part IV

Allison Cowie, Author

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 21 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.

Graduation Speech

by Charlie Dulik

Good afternoon parents, family members, friends, faculty and members of the class of 2013!

I’d like to start by talking about numbers. Over four years, we’ve spent 720 days at Paly. With eight semesters (which would be 32 progress reports, for those of you that check the mail) and seven classes per semester, the three digit GPA we set in stone today factors in 56 different class periods. We’ve had 20 days of spirit week, watched around 12 powderpuff games and seen way too many streakers. We’ve memorized numbers too — like our eight digit student ID, or how many days there are until the next break.

During the rest of high school, we’ve had the chance to make up for mistakes. Tests that didn’t go well could be cancelled by more work, missed lectures could be learned at home. But there’s only one graduation. So we are here to cram four years of social and academic learning into into a single ceremony.

Today is about celebrating how we’ve grown over the last four years, from timid freshmen to confident seniors. We can acknowledge that there have been bumps in the road, some unexpected twists and turns, but that without them, we wouldn’t be where we are now.

Today, we can realize that high school has meant something different to each of the 469 of us, but acknowledge that our experiences at Paly have played an integral role in shaping us.

Today, we join 3.2 million other students across the US graduating from their high schools. Today, we join Paly’s illustrious group of alumni, from James Franco to Jim Harbaugh, from Jeremy Lin to Mr. Sharp, from the first class nearly 100 years ago to our friends in the class of 2012.

And today, numbers don’t matter. What I mean is, we don’t need to focus on the nitty-gritty. Tomorrow, we can think about college, or jobs, or the daunting openness of our futures. Today, let’s let the experiences and emotions of high school wash over us, and not worry about holding onto something concrete like numbers. Today isn’t about the diploma, it’s about what the diploma represents. So let’s reminisce about late nights with friends and even later ones with the APUSH textbook, and think about how much we’ve grown in such a short time. Right now, all we can do, all that matters is to enjoy the bittersweet glow of the last four years. Thank you.

Click here to find Part I, Part II, Part III, Part V, Part VI and Part VII.