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Graduation Speech: Tad Szymczak

I want to thank parents and guests for joining us today, and congratulations to the graduating class of 2022.

As I was thinking about what to talk about this afternoon, I thought of all of the chaos that ensued over the years. We are most likely the only high school graduating class of our generation to not be in the building all four years of high school. Freshman year we started the second week of school a few weeks “off” because there was mold discovered in the ventilation systems and a gas leak. In our sophomore year, although we were in the building, Mercury was found under the gyms and we were unable to use them for a few weeks, forcing us to be put in regular classrooms until the problem was resolved. Later on, in the same year, we were led around the school, walking for at least twenty minutes to find a safe haven because one of the HVAC units exploded. We were finally sent outside to the football field where we waited for at least an hour and a half. To continue the unpleasantness of sophomore year, by mid-year, COVID-19 struck and we finished the year at home. Junior year was even worse. Students were either virtual or hybrid schooled, however, a lot of people stayed fully virtual. Senior year we returned to school, but needed to wear masks. There have been heating issues in the winter, a flaming piece of fruit set the smoke alarms off which forced us to go outside in thirteen-degree weather, and because of the damage done to the heating systems, space heaters were brought into the rooms to provide heat. We had a shooter threat discovered on the walls of a bathroom, and to end the year, the fire alarm was accidentally triggered by maintenance forcing us to once again leave the building.

On the surface, you would think that we have had a rough four years. However, what I believe is that everyone in our class learned to adapt and make do with the situations that were thrown at us. This is a very valuable life skill. Out in the real world, you plan for something to go a certain way but it does not always go like you want it to - you have to adapt and adapt quickly. We have mastered the skill to be patient while our leaders figure out how to resolve the issues. We were forced to face more natural and man-made disasters throughout our four years of school than anyone should have. Our class has become masters of rolling with the punches. I’m so sorry for all the graduating years after us because snow days are a thing of the past.

We have all had a trying four years and if there's one thing I want you to take from my speech today, it is to always live as if it's your last day. Live with love, hope, faith, compassion, empathy, joy, and laughter in your life. Live every day to its fullest. Make your dreams come true. We are about to go forward in the chapter of our lives and we will be ready to join the real world as productive adults. Whatever it is you will do, do it to your fullest potential, but don’t forget to have fun too. You need fun and your friends and family in order to live a full and complete life. So I’ll end with this: Make the most out of your life and don’t waste it.


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