You know the kind of speech I'm talking about: laborious, nostalgic, barely disguised self-righteousness, awkward jokes that are only possibly funny to the other adults, topped off with the little engine who could kind of pep talk. I will give this guy enough credit to say that it started strong - he led us all to believe it was going to be short, sweet and candid. But then, oh but then, his self-editing app quickly disabled and he went completely off the rails taking us along without our consent. Who is this speech for, really? The parents and families? Is it all just part of the pomp and circum-fluff? Because it was definitely not for those kids.They are stick-a-fork-in-them done with lectures from adults. They are tired. They are young. They have not lived life outside of that K-12 bubble...outside the bubble of themselves. They c a n n o t hear you, dude. They cannot relate to what you are advising.
What was different about my nephew's graduation from mine was that the valedictorian did not speak... in fact, no student did. In all honesty though, not only can I not remember what the faculty may have said I can't even remember what my fellow students said. I was done. I was tired. I was young. I also graduated with a class of 600+, and with a last name starting with 'T' I was ready to wrap that shit up asap. My boyfriend spoke at his graduation and even he doesn't know what his speech was about. Maybe I'm in the minority here, and maybe some of you received some game changing rhetoric at your HS graduation that changed the course of your life from then on. Cool. Good for you! Buuuuut, I actually think you are in the minority. I think those grand life lesson speeches are best saved for college graduations; undergrad, grad students, PhDs.
I do believe in student to student speeches for high school graduations, because they're all in a sea of the unknown together. Some of them might know exactly what they want to do, what career path has been burning in their heart and they're on course for college henceforth. Most others though might not have a goddamn clue. We live in a society where on the one hand it's understood you need a college degree to get a good job, while on the other many college graduates can't get a job in their chosen field to save their life. Wtf? So what can you really say then to these kids that is authentic? Good night and good luck? We're human. We all have to learn our own lessons regardless of what we've been told. Again, we're human - that's the jam.
Contrary to societal belief, I think it's okay to be unsure at the (still covered in yoke) age of 17-18. Isn't it better that these kids take some time to immerse themselves outside of that participation trophy bubble in which much of the current generation has been steeped?
I would say this .... Get a job - feel the satisfaction of earning your own money. Travel - meet people completely different from you culturally, spiritually, politically and understand at the core we're actually not that different. Volunteer - to gain some true perspective and empathy. Educate yourself - dissect the ideas/ideals you've grown up with to see if you actually agree or you have just been parroting your parents' sentiments. Explore options - not sure about college? How about apprenticing in a trade that appeals to you?
I actually would advise all those same things to the ones who know exactly what they want and where they're headed. Take a year to do the above. There really is no rush. A year goes by verrrry fast. A fact that only seems to become true once you're on the other side of 'childhood'.
I would also say to the parents - Let them!
Think about your own life. What was your trajectory post high school? Did you take a "gap year"? If so, how did it change you? If not, imagine what might have been different?
Taking the time to better understand who you are and what you want, how to support yourself, how to interact with the world at large (not just your little familiar corner), and to even see beyond all of that and understand the bigger picture is a priceless kind of education. And a priceless piece of advice. Come to think of it, I'm available for speaking engagements such as these. I'll tell it like it is and get you out in jiff. Ha!
Happy Graduation to all the seniors ...
Good Night & Good Luck! ;-)