Address – Valedictorian Erin Fan
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, teachers, administration, friends and family, and fellow graduates. It is an honor to speak to you on this special occasion.
And to my fellow graduates, congratulations! Today marks the end of our journey here at Hauppauge High School. When I think of this moment I think of my favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz, and how it parallels our high school experiences. Most of us here know the story. It’s about a girl named Dorothy who finds herself far from home in an otherworldly place. The movie begins with Dorothy being whisked away by a tornado to a place called Oz. She was bewildered by her unfamiliar surroundings, and she felt lost and scared. I am sure that many of us shared the same feeling when we first entered Hauppauge High School.
Just as Dorothy embarks on a journey with a purpose and a destination, we too have progressed from freshman to senior year, growing and learning from our various experiences. Many people have helped us along the way like Glinda the Good Witch, but we also encountered obstacles attempting to throw us off our course like The Wicked Witch of the West. Along the way, we learned things about ourselves that we never knew before, and our destination may look different than we anticipated when we first stepped into Hauppauge High School four years ago. In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy makes friends who join her on her voyage to see the wizard with requests of their own. In the end, they didn’t find what they expected but gained something far more important. It was the journey that helped them to grow and to discover their strengths. And it is our journey in high school that has helped each of us to grow to become who we are today.
In the movie, the Scarecrow longed for a brain, the Tin Man a heart and the Lion, courage. However, we eventually discovered that they possessed what they were looking for all along. Each of the characters played an important role in the journey. Each was unique and possessed their own attributes that helped Dorothy find her way home. As high schoolers, we’ve gained the same attributes the characters possess on the journey toward graduation. With our brains, our courage, and our hearts, graduates of our class have placed in national competitions, won numerous Teeny Awards, won sports championships, became Presidential Scholars, PTA Scholarship recipients, Long Island Scholar Artists, All-State Musicians, Science Olympiad winners, and so on. Our class has gone above and beyond in these four years, and all these achievements have come as a result of hard work, determination, and the drive to succeed. I am so grateful to be a member of such an amazing class. I would like to take this moment to thank all the teachers, counselors, administration, friends and family for all of the time and dedication they have devoted over the years. Thank you for all of your help and support and for making high school a truly memorable and wonderful experience. I would also like to give a special thank you to my mom and dad for their unconditional love and support.
And now, as high school comes to a close, it is time to go out into the world and tread our own paths in life. Some of us will become writers, some artists, some doctors, some teachers, some lawyers,... the list goes on. Some of us have known what we wanted to do with our lives since we were children, and many others among us are still not sure about what we want to do and are still finding our direction in life. No matter what path you choose to take, gather your courage and believe in yourself. We are leaving behind a life we have known for the last twelve years. It takes courage to step forward into a totally unfamiliar environment once more. It takes courage to be at the start of the yellow brick road once again. And it takes courage to face an uncertain future and choose which path to take. But while the future is uncertain, we must face it with optimism and perseverance. And while courage and brains are important to possess on the journey, they are not enough. We must also have the heart to have empathy and gratitude. All of us have our own Glinda the Good Witch in our lives, whether it be a coach, a parent, or a teacher, etc. As we reach for our goals, we should slow down and look around us to appreciate all those people that helped us along the journey and all the little things that make life beautiful. I would like to end this speech with little mantras that will be helpful to keep in our minds as we transition into a world outside of high school. Never give up; follow your dreams; believe in yourself. Work hard; stay humble; be kind. And finally, never forget the people who helped to get you to where you are today.
Once again, congratulations to the Class of 2018, it’s time to go forth into the world and make Hauppauge proud!