My original speech was a generic "go school" type of speech highlighting the various achievements of our school and class over four years. The Seussified speech that I gave was written and delivered within 24 hours of discovering the book. It certainly felt more comfortable than the original speech. It is interesting to re-read this speech years later. A lot has happened personally and in the world over the years. Oh the places we've gone and will go in the future!
-- Original Speech from June 1996:
The speech that I had prepared for this afternoon didn't capture the true essence of graduation. Up until a few days ago, I didn't know anything that did. Until my friend, Kevin A'lured introduced something to me that I want to share with all of you. (Hold up book) It's titled "Oh, the places you'll go" by Dr. Seuss. Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away! This is very true. This ceremony we're having right now. It's about all 13 years of hard work finally paying off. Today is your day, your graduation day. After today, we will all be off to great places. Off and away to accomplish great things as we have shown we have the potential to do. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you chose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go. Now, we are all adults. We must chose the path. Next year, and all the years after, we will all be called upon to make important decisions. You must choose between right and wrong. You must choose the path to your future. Oh, the places you'll go! You'll be on your way up! You'll be seeing great sights! You'll join the high fliers who soar to high heights. Every one of us has the potential to be something big. We've shown this throughout the year with assorted championships, 1st places, medals and trophies. We can all soar to high heights. Except when you don't Because sometimes, you won't. I'm sorry to say so, but sadly it's true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you. Not every day is going to be happy for every one of us. Going down the road to fame, we must all face obstacles. Although they might seem like the toughest thing at the time, everything will end up being okay in the end. Nobody's perfect, just accept life's little difficulties as you encounter them. You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win? For many of us, the road ahead leads to college. We've worked to become seniors. We are now the big fish in a small pond. We know where to go if we need a soda. We know where to go if we want hamburgers at lunch instead of pizza or burritos. Next year, it will all be different. We will change into a small fish in a big pond. We will have to discover a new campus, almost a new world where we will go. Oh the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You'll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV. Eventually, we will learn how to take over our new campuses in our new schools, just as we did high school after junior high. Then, we can all go back to being our winning selves again, soaring to new and even greater heights. And will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) Kid, you'll move mountains! So, be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecau Ali Van Allen O'Shea, you're off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so . . . class of 1996 . . . get on your way.