Graduation Speech

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There's an old Beatles song that begins:

"There are places I remember all my life,
Though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain."

It seems to me, when we look back at our years at Thomas Middle School, we will have many of the same feelings.

Who can forget Rory getting stuck in a mudpit at Loredo Taft? Mr. G's inspired reading of "The Tell Tale Heart?" When Mr. B electrocuted the whole classroom? Or getting the chance to pie a teacher when we adopted a family at Christmas?

Certainly, we will remember these specifics and little flashes of others, like Kodak moments frozen in time, to return perhaps when we least expect them.

Arriving at Thomas the first day was chaotic, some would say. Others would say it was merely interesting, and some might even say it was fun, but I think we can all agree that it was different from what we'd known before. Gone was recess, sleeping until 8, walking to school, lighter homework loads, and that single teacher we'd spend the entire day with. These were replaced by foreign languages and creative arts, waking at 6:15, waiting at the bus stop with bigger kids who knew the territory and younger ones who were small and pitiful, two hours of homework and a multitude of new teachers with new expectations and ideas. We also had our new lockers and combinations to memorize along with our new schedules and to find a way to navigate those crowded halls without being late for class. We fit in by going our own way, joining yearbook or in my case, the musical, doing a schoolhouse rock version of Elvis Presley, meeting many of the older kids in the cast. For our little sixth grade minds, this might have seemed to be an overload, but we adjusted and we have enjoyed watching the new faces each year encountering the same bewildering scene.

Seventh grade was a little easier, because we were used to lockers and changing classes, and we felt more in control. We were no...
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