In 1999, my colleague, Julie, and I were asked to give the Commencement Address at the private school graduation. Julie and I were “Tutor Buddies”; co-tutoring students during our 5th hour duty. Heck, we even had t-shirts and a motto:
“If you can’t get help from us, get help somewhere.”
Catchy? Don’t you think?
Since this is that time of year, I’d like to offer my advice to the class of 2015. I was teaching freshmen English in 1999, and had taught everyone in this particular graduating class. Since literature had always been my passion (I never thought of myself as a grammarian), we hit the classics hard: Jackson’s “The Lottery,” Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” Chopin’s The Awakening, and Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Are you seeing a pattern?
Truthfully, if I were asked to give a commencement address again, I’d give the same one. Good advice is always in vogue. Feel free to make it your own!
The Gift of Laughter
When I was approached about speaking to the seniors at graduation, I simply responded, ‘Now, are you asking me or telling me?’ Needless to say, I quickly accepted the privilege of reminiscing and lending advice to the class of ’99.
I remember this class with fondness. I remember, more than anything, their laughter. This is a fun group! Time limits me from mentioning specific stories, but I know this class must have a sense of humor – how else could we have gotten through stories, poems, dramas and novellas about unstable women?
Humor, my friends, is what will carry you through life. The ability to laugh at yourself is a gift . . . trust me, I’ve done it enough!
As you leave this school and your teachers, you truly embark on the best journey of your lives. Face it with humor. It will keep you grounded, young and hopeful in mind, body and spirit.
Allow yourselves the opportunity to laugh, and not just a feminine giggle, but try a hearty guffaw. You’ve earned it!
Nourish your laughter.
Encourage it to grow.
Cultivate it with care.
It is truly the best part of each one of you.
Congratulations, Class of 1999