Good morning Dr. Dawson, Members of the Platform Party, Students, Teachers, Special Guests, and of course, the Graduating Class of 2019.
Before I begin my speech, I want each of you to think back to the first time you saw your favourite movie. Think back to that feeling when the main character first came on screen, that feeling of wonder over what their journey would be like. Over the next few months, each of us will embark on our own journey, but today, I am here to share ours. This year marks a huge milestone in Crofton House School history. Not only is this the first time we’ve had a grad class named after an animated car, but it’s the first time we’ve had a class that was bold and clever enough to do so. I present to you, Grad L19HTNING MCQUEEN!
Now, the confused look I see on your faces is also how most of us reacted when this name was first proposed. But as we delved deeper into the meaning of L19htning McQueen, we came to realize how perfectly it embodied our grade. First of all, we may be nearly 18 on the outside, but deep down, most of us are still stuck around 12. Secondly, we are undeniably a class of 98 queens. What better way to celebrate that than to include it in our grad name? And finally, we wanted a name that wasn’t just a catchy title, but a message and a theme that we could use to leave behind our legacy.
For those of you who haven’t seen the Cars’ movies yet, which, by the way, I highly recommend you do this weekend, here’s a quick run-down: once upon a time, there lived a hotshot rookie race car named Lightning McQueen. This car was a winner. And he was used to being a winner. The fame and pride gave him a sense of superiority, and he looked down on all the other cars around him. Now the story of Lightning McQueen is the story of how he slowly but surely learns to value family and friends over winning the race, just as we as a grad class have come to do as well. Instead of knocking each other down, we’ve learned to build each other up.
As the curious and diligent Crofton student that I’ve been trained to be, I did some more digging and found a few other hidden gems behind this seemingly random name. So, borrowing from the wisdom of Lightning McQueen, here are some pointers on how to succeed in the race of life. Just remember the 3 S’s: speed, strategy, and spirit!
Firstly, speed: life is a race, but it’s a race like no other. The finish line isn’t really what you’re going for. The winners in the race of life are those who can pace themselves enough to soak in the sights and enjoy the journey. Crofton offers us some incredible opportunities, but taking on more at once is not always better. This year, remember to pace yourself. Sometimes, we’ll have to say no to things to make the most of what we’ve already said yes to. We’re all enrolled in a rigorous school, but don’t forget to take time for yourself, your friends, and your family. After all, our school years only come around once, and you don’t want your memories to be a blur because you were so busy just trying to race by.
Next, strategy: in the movie, Cars 3, Lightning McQueen could no longer keep up with the newer, younger, and shinier contenders. He simply couldn’t win anymore on speed alone. Instead, McQueen learned to adjust to his competition by racing smarter rather than faster. We’ve all found ourselves in those situations where we’re kind of just stuck, and it’s inevitable that we’ll be faced with them again. But don’t be afraid of change. If something isn’t working out, try something new. We all have unique strengths that we could take advantage of and we’re all capable of playing smart. For example: not starting a new Netflix show during exam season? Smart. Sneaking into the grad lounge when you think we’re not watching? Not smart. Because we’re always watching. But that’s beside the point. If you find yourself stuck, maybe it’s time for a change. Whether that be a change in attitude or a new game plan, it’s definitely worth a shot. Because there’s no better time than now to experiment and to find out what works best for you.
Finally, spirit! Undoubtedly, this will be a tough year for many of us. Some of us will be receiving our first pieces of homework. Some of us, our first final exams. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I live by the motto “it could be worse”. Now, that may sound a little depressing, but the way I look at it is that even the toughest of situations could honestly be a lot worse! Most of the setbacks and troubles we face are just small obstacles in the grand scheme of life. And I can say this because I am well-aware of what it’s like to fail. I failed to understand Java 10. I failed this morning to push my way through the mob of grade 8s in the basement. And I fail, again and again, when trying to climb up the stairs to the science wing. But know that your mistakes aren’t permanent and your struggles will pass. Approach every challenge with a smile on your face and you’ll be sure to come out the other side.
So there you have it! The secrets to winning the race of life: speed, strategy, and spirit.