When the 76 members of the Class of 2017, along with their families and friends, gathered for Baccalaureate on Saturday, May 13, 2017, Matt Lovesky was voted by his peers to share a personal reflection. Matt attended Shorecrest since fourth grade. You may recognize him as Raoul from "Phantom of the Opera", Prince Charming from "Into the Woods" or Marius the suitor of Cosette in "Les Misérables."
I'll be honest. I didn't want to do this speech. I was so anxious about writing and giving a speech here at Baccalaureate I almost asked Mrs. Blessing if I could back out last minute. I was afraid of not being able to say what I needed to say to you. I was afraid I wouldn't have anything to say at all. I didn't know how to make a speech that would include the entire grade because, to be honest, I don't talk to all of you often. But I gave it some time, and I thought about it. I thought about the past nine years I've spent with you all, and I dug up old memories (some that had been untouched since the fourth or fifth grade).
I remembered everything I’ve been through with each and every one of you. I remember my first year at Shorecrest in Mr. Hughes’s fourth grade class and all of the memories that were made in that year, including the time he fell asleep during recess and left us outside. We didn’t mind. I'll always remember my first Shorecrest classmates from the fourth grade. I remember us talking and wondering, “Where’s Sammy Lundy? Is she still in our class?” because Mr. Hughes thought Sammy might enjoy some time in the Principal’s office - almost every day.
I also remember the dragonfly in Mr. Marchetti’s fifth grade social studies class. We hid in the computer lab while he called maintenance to remove the harmless and seemingly lifeless bug from the wall. I remember Mrs. Bassford and the smiles that filled her classroom everyday, as well as the chocolate cupcakes she brought in for her literature classes. I remember learning the flashmob dance in Mrs. Kelly’s sixth grade math class and building ancient civilizations with Mrs. Wells.
We made it through Middle School with too many memories to name, but we had yet to face the biggest challenge of our lives: the high school dress code. If we couldn't keep our shirts tucked in or wear a belt with our khaki shorts, how could we handle the freedom of the high school dress code? I know some of us have had more difficulty with the dress code than others, and I feel that I can speak for the entire class when I say the day Neha got her first muumuu was truly remarkable and worthy of celebration.
I’m always amazed when I think about how much we have changed as a class but also as individuals over the past four years. We’ve gone from hiding our illegal outfits from Dean as if our lives depends on it, to strutting down the halls confidently in Lululemon cropped leggings and logo T-shirts. Mr. Thayer can’t stop you now, girls. Long live the leggings rebellion!
If you don’t believe me when I say we really have changed a lot throughout high school, find a picture of Shelby, Zack or Shannon from freshman year. I rest my case.
We were told to make these speeches inclusive and respectful to all members of the senior class and I’m doing my best, but I haven’t seen Taimur at school since sophomore year, so I’m not really sure what he’s been up to. And Charlotte only emerges from the blackbox when there’s a theatre performance or mandatory award ceremony.
Moral of the story: we’ve changed. But more than that, we’ve grown. We’re all becoming the young adults we are meant to be. It’s a long process, and it’s only just begun, but we have the rest of our lives to figure it out. And the best part is we get to figure it out by ourselves and for ourselves. We’ll have help from new friends and professors, but we might have to rely on ourselves a little more than we’re used to. I’m not saying we’ll be alone and miserable in college. You can always come back home to your family for support, but I hope we all take advantage of four years of freedom. They will be fun, of course, and full of stress, tears, anxiety, finals, plummeting GPAs and miracle saves at the end of the semester. We’re going to see it all. We’re going to live through it all, but hopefully they will be the best years of our lives. Which seems crazy considering how impactful and important our high school years have been.
I hope we never stop learning and experiencing. I hope there’s always another first time to experience something new. I hope we continue to grow and better ourselves. I hope we change the world. And I hope we don’t forget our high school years because I know that I never will.
Finally, I want to thank you all for the past nine years of my life. I truly never thought I would be graduating with the same kids I met in the fourth grade back when Kendall nicknamed me "Peachy" because my hair apparently felt like peach fuzz. I apologize for the new hair, but like I said, things have changed... for the better. And the hair isn’t the only thing that’s changed in the past nine years.
Thank you for helping me find myself. Thank you for helping me love myself. Thank you for letting me grow up with you all and for accepting me every step of the way. Through all the tough times and the happy ones, we’ve learned to love every moment and to make lasting memories with each other. I can only hope that our time at Shorecrest means as much to you all as it means to me. Thank you for sharing your lives with me and for letting me share mine with you.
Congratulations seniors. We did it!
Meet the Class of 2017 and read more of their stories at: www.shorecrest.org/2017