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Graduation Speech: Gage Oake

To everyone that has come here today to celebrate this rite of passage, fellow graduates, parents, teachers, administrators, etc., welcome. Four years of hard work, struggle, fun, and memories, and fifty years of this school existing, have lead up to this. It is great to see how far we have all come.

In a way, many of us are the last of a kind. A good number of us came from Linwood Middle School in years 2019 through 2020, and it was in the middle of that school year when the Covid pandemic began. Even if you couldn’t hold a proper ceremony because of the virus, it still makes us the last 8th grade class to graduate from Linwood before it became a 5th to 6th grade school. Our freshman year of high school was affected too, with classes being virtual at first, and then having to adjust to a hybrid system later that year. It was only during our sophomore year when we were able to get some semblance of normalcy again, but we persevered regardless.

It hasn’t just been the obstacles in our way that made this class what it is now. Despite everything, every student in this school has something worth remembering from our time here. Whether you were an athlete that made the crowd’s cheers echo across the field, a wild theater or band kid that put on a spectacular performance, a quiet kid that watched from the sidelines, or someone in between. We are all part of a niche here in this school, big or small, and we have built a community that I’m quite proud to be a part of. The events that we partook in and helped shape will stick with us. It doesn’t even have to be a big event like Homecoming or prom. Smaller experiences such as Christmas in the Commons, Senior Assassin, or even just a good laugh in the classroom (Mr. Smutko and Swain certainly know) can have a space to live rent free in your head. We all have some sort of legacy to leave behind, no matter how insignificant it may seem.

This school is old, there’s no denying it. Fives decades old in fact. Many classes have had this kind of ceremony before us, and many will have it after. But still, half a century is quite the milestone, and something people are going to look back on. When looking back, we want to do so with pride, and thinking about the good these four years have brought us. I’d say even with the bumps on the road we had along the way, the Class of 2024 is definitely worth having as your 50th Anniversary’s graduates. We persevered despite everything hurdled our way, and we managed to make the best out of it. We have good memories to balance out with the struggles; it wasn’t easy, but here we are.

So with that, I thank all of the staff, friends, and family for putting up with my eccentric behavior for as long as they have, as well as guiding me, along with so many others, to where we are now. We have grown as people thanks to our time here, and we’ll grow even more as well go our separate ways, whether our path be college, trade school, or something else entirely. We’ll be taking it from here as we go out into the real world, becoming independent adults whose lives will truly be our own in the making. But once again, for all of the knowledge, memories, lessons, and smiles that this place has given us, thank you. To my fellow graduates, I know you’ve probably heard “congratulations” a million times now, but c’mon; aren’t you happy? Aren’t you excited? We’re finally going to be free.


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