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TEXT OF STUDENTS' SPEECHES AND PRINCIPAL'S REMARKS AT GHS GRADUATION
June 1, 2018
Speeches at Granbury High School graduation on May 25, 2018, included the valedictory address by Alexandria Inbody, salutatory address by Rayni Skaggs, and senior response by class president Kendall Carroll. GHS principal Jeremy Ross closed the ceremony with congratulatory remarks.
Chaos and Clarity
Chaos Theory is a branch of modern mathematics that involves a series of complex equations that are highly sensitive to slight changes in the initial state of the system (Vernon). It’s the contradiction of most other modern findings in mathematics and physics, as a whole. Classical physics and mathematics tells us that a small change in the initial state of a system results in small changes in the outcome. Chaos Theory is the antithesis of this concept. Rather than small changes having small outcomes, it’s the idea that a slight shift in the initial condition of a complex system results in dramatically different results (Borwein and Rose). It’s the idea that every tweak, every small adjustment to the system, has exponentially greater influence on the outcome. In an attempt to put it in its simplest terms, this is the concept of Chaos Theory, commonly referred to as… The Butterfly Effect.
The Butterfly Effect is the brainchild of mathematician Edward Lorenz. It was developed in order to reconcile results that he could find no explanation for in a weather prediction model that he was developing. The model consisted of twelve separate equations that would, hopefully, allow him to predict weather patterns, long-term. In 1961, halfway through a series of calculations, the starting point of the weather system was altered. Dr. Lorenz halted the progress of the prediction model in the middle of the sequence and plugged in hand-calculated numbers. However, while the seemingly identical information stayed on track for the first month of prediction, it rapidly began to deviate thereafter. Dr. Lorenz would later discover that he had simplified the data in the system, accidentally removing some of the precision. In the end, the difference in inputs was miniscule. But, the model slowly began to stray off course from the earlier predictions, and it made no recovery the longer that the model ran. In this one instance, Dr. Lorenz came to the conclusion that not only were long-term weather conditions not able to be predicted, but neither was the true outcome of any situation, in the long run (Bradley). This is the foundation of Chaos Theory, the origin. But equally interesting is his conclusion from Chaos Theory, that being the Butterfly Effect. The Butterfly Effect is built on this one instance, this one moment when the numbers didn’t quite add up for Dr. Lorenz. So, as all good doctors, scientists, and mathematicians do, he did some digging.
Nowadays, the Butterfly Effect is less of a scientific theory and more of an icon of modern culture. It is commonly referenced as the idea that “A butterfly flaps its wings in the [Amazon], and, [as a result,]a storm ravages half of Europe” (Gaiman and Pratchett). In its simplest form, it is the idea that the tiniest of changes makes a lasting difference on the world as we know it. According to Chaos Theory, it’s the little things that matter. I offer this historical background and scientific jargon to you today, not to share what may seem to be an abstract scientific concept with little to no application, but rather to share a bit of insight. I offer it to you in hopes that the implications of this theoretical science may resonate with you. It is my goal, Class of 2018, for you to leave this ceremony, which honors you and all of your achievements, and for you to not feel scared. It is my goal for you to not be afraid of your future, of where you may go and what you may do. I want each of you to leave with this one, little nugget of wisdom. It’s the small adjustments that we make, the chances we take, and the faith that we extend into the unknown that incites change. It is the small shifts that we make every single day, the slight modifications that we make to the initial condition, that allow the world to change for the better. It’s speaking up, speaking out, and striving for your goals. It’s taking the extra step when it doesn’t seem worth it today in the hope that it will be worth it tomorrow. The future is already set into motion, the path laid before us, it is up to each of us to choose whether or not to adjust it, or to go along for the ride. Don’t fear your future; be excited for it. Every single day that you have spent, both inside and outside of the classroom for the last eighteen years has led you to this point, to this moment. Embrace the future that you’ve created for yourself. Bask in the hard work, the long nights, and the fruits of your labor. I leave you with this last call to action: Class of 2018, be the butterfly. Change the face of the world, and keep changing it until you see what you want staring right back at you. That’s when you know that it’s all been worth it.
Good evening graduates, family, and friends, and welcome to Granbury High School’s Class of 2018 Graduation. Some of the parents in attendance tonight have no idea what a miracle it is that many of us made it to this moment. From our struggles in macroeconomics to our constant battle with the dress code, the vast majority of us surely considered bailing at least a few times. After being asked what we wanted to do and who we wanted to be at 15, 16, and 17 years old, I can confidently say that we’re all just a little bit confused, intimidated, and clueless. Most of us can barely decide what to wear in the morning or what to eat for breakfast, much less what career we should be preparing for. For some of us, it’s a struggle just to pay for that Chick-fil-a sandwich, or our senior prom dress, or gas money, much less college and a house and a car and groceries and… the list goes on and on. Adulthood is like this huge, looming cloud of doom that promises a life of freedom, excitement, and paying for things we thought were free, like water. I’m not sure we’re ready for it. Right now, it was everything we could do just to write that 2,000 word English paper sophomore year (thanks, Mrs. Bradshaw).
These past four years have been a roller coaster. There is no doubt in my mind that the good times we had together will be remembered fondly. Through the celebrations and triumphs over the years, we will remember the times when our classmates were people we saw more often than family. We experienced some pretty rough times together, too, and the bond that we have formed because of that will last a lifetime. Through heartbreak and disappointment, we learned not only how to cope with our grief but also how to lean on each other for support. But I’m not here to talk about the good times and the bad times. These are things that have already been ingrained into our memories. Instead, this evening I’m going to share a story that changed my life, and my hope is that it will do the same for you all.
When I was 14, I was a very typical freshman. By that I mean, I wasn’t really interested in adulting quite yet. Therefore, on this particularly pleasant Sunday morning, as I sat in an uncomfortable church pew, the only thing my mind could focus on was the fact that if I squinted hard enough, I could imagine my pastor as a walking chicken strip. As the chicken strip introduced an elderly man who was making his way to the front of the room, I only zoned in enough to catch his name- Mr. Al. He walked very, very slowly to the front of the church, but steadily, held upright by his cane and his confidence. Before I could figure out what kind of food he might be, he began speaking in a voice that both commanded everyone’s attention with its volume and demanded immediate respect with its tone. To this day I couldn’t for the life of me remember what my pastor had been speaking on that morning, although I could possibly recite to you every word that left Mr. Al’s mouth (don’t worry, tonight I’ll summarize, I guess).
The elderly man was speaking on kindness, which was something I’d thought I’d understood since I was little. To me, being kind was as simple as just not being mean. Easy peasy. But Mr. Al had an uncomfortable truth for me that day, which he delivered to his audience through a story. It began on a Thursday, 20 years ago, when Mr. Al made breakfast and coffee at the break of dawn and served it to the trash collectors. And for the past 20 years, he has continued to do so every Thursday morning. Cheerfully and loyally, Mr. Al would wake an hour early to make these men eggs, bacon, and biscuits. And one day, not too long ago, one of these very trashmen came knocking on his door. Welcoming as always, Mr. Al invited him in, and they sat in the living room to talk. With tears on his face, the man tells Mr. Al how much of a blessing he’s been to the trashmen over the years- how this breakfast is the best meal that he typically eats in a week, and Mr. Al’s face the friendliest that he knows. And all it took was Mr. Al making a little extra breakfast every Thursday morning.
With that, he walked off the stage. He didn’t even have to explain the story; everyone in the audience that day knew what he was saying. By going out of his way- just slightly- once a week, Mr. Al was able to make a significant impact on someone else’s life, and likely many others. He showed that kindness isn’t just restraint from rudeness or saying what we might be thinking. Kindness is going out of your way to make an impact on someone’s day, and possibly even their life.
And graduates, this leads me to the bit of advice I’d like to share with everyone tonight; You can worry about your grades, your future success, career and soulmate. You can worry about what kind of car you’ll drive and how much money you’ll make. But success in this world won’t be measured by your salary, house value, or how many cars you drive. All of these things amount to nothing. Because ultimately, the impact you make on this world isn’t going to be through material possessions or your high-paying job. It’s going to be how you treat people every day. It’s going to be determined by how willing you are to go out of your way to be kind to someone. And with that, I’ll leave you all with this: go make a difference in the lives of the people around you. Show them love, and be a light to this world.
Thank you Mrs. Alana and Dr. Largent for declaring us “graduates!”
Approximately 1369 days, 11 hours, 32 minutes, and a few seconds ago, we walked into the Crossland Ninth Grade Campus on the first day of our Freshman year. In one sense, that day seems like a lifetime ago, yet in another, it feels as though it was no further away than yesterday. Since that day, we've faced many battles, winning some, losing some, rejoicing in the good times, and pushing through the bad times.
These four years each have their own very distinct characteristics. Freshman year was full of new beginnings and new friends, a merging of two middle school campuses and the chaos that inevitably ensues. There were the halls of the old Willie and Wanda Crossland campus, stuffed to the gills with new high schoolers, learning to juggle the stress of accelerated classes, athletics, and fine arts. There were the first of many Friday Night Lights spent in the student section, where the seniors seemed much, much larger and much, much scarier than they do now, and there were the chances to spread our wings, to find what truly interested us and to succeed in that field. We FINALLY got our driver's permits, which evoked a lot of terror filled yelling, gritting of teeth, and even tears from our parents, though we basked in our new-found parental supervised freedom. We dissected pigs, rats, and frogs, which involved a lot of slicing, dicing, and many, many Instagram posts of our latest experiment. We had electrical fires that chose to strike in the pouring rain, causing teachers scramble for the nearest umbrellas and notebooks to help shield their students, and we had teachers such as Mr. Bird who shaped the lives of their students and left an impression which will continue to last much longer than these four years.
Then all of a sudden it was sophomore year. This year was set to the soundtrack of jackhammers, crashes, and sometimes, screams of terror from either a class full of people surprised by the crash or a teacher who had been caught off guard. For many, this was one of the best years. We were finally a part of the high school and the excitement surrounding it. We had a place at the pep rallies, football games, basketball games, talent shows, Tunes for Tots, and much, much more. We had a place in the baby powder explosion of homecoming 2015...and the taking away of the baby power of homecoming 2015. We Whipped and Nae Nae'd our way through the struggles of chemistry, the pain of algebra, and the English hall's ramen noodle fire of 2016, all of which we survived and are all the stronger because of. That summer most of us got our first jobs, and then some of us subsequently quit our first jobs. Most of us got our first car, and then some of us also received our first speeding ticket.
When we finished Sophomore year we scoffed at the idea of graduation being soon, we were only halfway done with the four year journey. However, just like the other two, junior year was here and gone before we knew it. In our new and improved building, we had our first homecoming dance, first prom, and, of course, the fidget spinner invasion of the century and the apocalyptic clown invasion. We battled the seniors in the Great 2k17 Powderpuff Game and then said our tearful goodbyes at graduation as they set off on their new adventures. All in all, Junior Year was a whirlwind of SATs, ACTs, AP Tests, College tours, and of course, the exciting promise of Senior Year.
And just as suddenly as all of our "firsts” ended, our "lasts” began. Our last first day began with a tear or two as our mommy’s took our last first day of school picture and sent us out the door, lunchbox in hand and excitement in our hearts. We kicked off our last first Friday Night Football Game with Granbury High School’s first annual tailgate and with water bottle shakers, face paint, cereal, and carrots in hand, we cheered our Pirates on to a 44-26 victory against the R.L. Turner Lions. Our last homecoming parade, our last homecoming game, and our last homecoming dance came and went in a whirlwind of excitement. We managed to observe the Solar Eclipse sans burned corneas, and we ladies persevered through the Fortnite craze of 2018 with the Walmart Yodel Boy as our background music. We trained for our last season as high school athletes and performers and as we took to the fields, courts, pools, and stages for the last first time, there was a sense of familiarity yet a promise for new experiences. Suddenly we were the captains of our teams, presidents of our clubs, and directors of our sections, and somehow it felt so natural. In four years we went from the noisy fishies in the back of class to the leaders of our school. We proudly watched as our friends signed with colleges to carry on their passion in athletics, music, and more, with graduates attending colleges from the East to the West coast and everywhere in between. Senior year was a mixture of fun and games, tears and heartbreak, and the stark realization that this is the year that decides the rest of our lives. Our celebration today would never have been possible without a multitude of key figures in our lives throughout the years. To the teachers who invested in us, the administration who worked for what was best for us, the parents who loved and supported us, the coaches who pushed us, and the upper and lower classmen who stood by our side, we thank you. We thank the parents who sacrificed for years to make our dreams obtainable, we thank the schools who offered new and exciting opportunities for exploration, and we thank those who helped make this graduation ceremony memorable from Mrs. Sanderson to the parents who worked relentlessly to make Project Graduation a reality. The support we’ve received is unforgettable and is left on 426 grateful hearts.
While some of us may choose to leave this town after graduation, there will always be a little piece of Granbury in us. We spent our years on the lake, in the bowling alley, crowding around Montes' counter, admiring the city from the top of the ferris wheel every September, cramming into Chick-Fil-A at the end of a half day, and cheering on the annual Fourth of July parade. No matter how long you've lived here, this town and its people have played an essential part in shaping us into the people we've become. For some, Granbury has been a home, while for others it has been a stepping stone on the path to bigger adventures, but no matter what, we will always have a little piece of Granbury within our hearts.
In the end, we are Pirates through and through, we bleed purple and sweat gold too. We are a family, a nation, a clan of conquerors. And with that in mind, Class of 2018, for the final time, have a great pirate day, but, most importantly, have a great Pirate life.
I always save the last few words of Graduation for myself.
I would first like to acknowledge my appreciation for Mrs. Patti Sanderson, who has worked tirelessly the last few weeks to ensure that tonight’s ceremony is a huge success. Mrs. Sanderson, thank you!
When you give more than 30 years of your life to a profession you love—that is commitment. When you have given all you have to your students at all levels and have the “skins on the wall” to show your success, that’s a career well-spent. Thank you, Mr. Doss, for your years of service to GISD.
I bet you thought I was talking about Dr. Largent, didn’t you?
I did that on purpose.
Six years ago, Dr. Largent and his wife Jeri took a leap of faith and came to Granbury. His leadership set us on a course for success almost instantly. We set goals, passed a bond election that many said was un-winnable, and built a stunning, state-of-the-art high school building where our students are thriving in all areas of campus life. Before it was a trending headline, Dr. Largent made campus security upgrades a top priority for every one of our schools. Most of all, and probably an act that all of us need to emulate, he regularly listened to his most important constituents: the students.
Dr. Largent, thank you for your leadership. Your impact on all of us here in Granbury ISD has already been tremendous. On behalf of the staff, students, and parents of GHS, we wish you all the best in retirement.
Class of 2018, I will miss you. You have that right mix of respect for the adults in the room, but with just a touch of mischief that has kept us on our toes. For example, we did not quite know what to think of your intense interest in a taco piñata, but we were willing to endure a little weirdness in the name of school spirit. I stress—a little…
You probably do not realize it, but you are the first class to set an extremely high bar in terms of service to others. In your clubs, organizations, and through the GHS Days of Service, you have shown our community what tremendous contributions are possible from young people.
Finally, I will miss your resilience. The way you have risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of tragedy the last few weeks has been nothing short of miraculous. Your selflessness and true grit—combined with love and grace is inspiring. People and pundits complain about “kids today…” Let me tell you—these kids will be just fine!
Congratulations to you, Class of 2018!
And now, in our final act of celebration and as a symbol turning the page from this chapter of your life, with your left hand take your tassel and say with me,