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24 minutes reading time (4873 words)

AHS graduation speeches: Bourassa, students inspire - Baldwin: Practicing? No

Page 2 of 7

We have not just been practicing

Honors speaker Genevieve Baldwin

For all the years we’ve been in school, we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on preparation. We’ve been told to prepare for the next test, the next class, the next year, the next stage in our lives. Today, I want us to remember: There is a difference between preparation and practice. We did practice many things, from soccer drills to public speaking, but the majority of our time was not spent practicing; it was spent in action, and that’s what has prepared us.

Our days here were not practice days; they were full, long days. Our friendships here were not preparatory friendships, they are deep reaching relationships. Our emotions and motivations and accomplishments here were not inconsequential; they were vibrant parts of our lived experience, and they will be with us for years to come. For us and for all other students, high school is not practice for “the real world”; it’s a part of it. Student activism, student government, student initiatives, student athletics -- they count.

For 'real'

We wouldn’t be prepared for the next parts of our lives if our school years weren’t “real.” And we are prepared; around the world, our generation is the most engaged, informed and active group of young people there has ever been. Here at AHS, this has showed in our student-driven projects, our strong athletic communities, our incredible student leaders in clubs, student government and activist organizations.

Plus, across the board, we’ve stuck together during challenging and uncertain times, from the chaos of construction to a world-altering pandemic. Adults have told us all our lives that we’re “the future,” and I believe we will make and are already making invaluable contributions to this world. Not only are we prepared; we’re eager, and we will meet any challenges that come our way with the same real, strong commitment and resolve we’ve tackled high school with. 

Class of 2021, I am beyond proud to stand up here and call you all my friends. We’re a force to be reckoned with, endlessly resilient, stubbornly supportive of each other and authentic in our actions and words. Today, we’re saying goodbye to Arlington High, but I refuse to say goodbye to all of you.

I’ll just say “see you later” instead, because I know we’ll all continue to do great things in the future. Thank you for giving me the honor of speaking today; I wish you all the best, and I hope we can all give ourselves a massive round of applause!



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