Off the Press

June 19, 2012

By Greg Farrar

A legacy of selflessness to keep for a lifetime

In keeping with the tradition of previous years, these are excerpts of the commencement speech I heard from a student or adult at graduation that, in my opinion, stood out from the rest. Enjoy!

— Greg Farrar

Daniel Rawlings, Nicole Migotsky, Camille Skinner and Stefanie Whitmer

Issaquah High School valedictorians

Christie McIntosh: There’s a well-known Beatles’ song that I believe captures the spirit of IHS, which goes… “It’s been a hard day’s night” … and for the graduating class of 2012…

It’s been a hard year’s work,

And we’ve been workin’ for so long,

It’s been a hard year’s work,

We should be celebratin’ how far we’ve come

But when we look back tonight,

We find the things that we’ve done,

Will make us feel all right

It’s been a hard year’s work,

And we’ve been workin’ for so long,

It’s been a hard year’s work,

Gonna throw our caps up high,

When our cheers reach the sky,

We’ll know the thing that we’ve done,

Will make us feel all right…

Just keep in mind all of the great things we have done as a class, as an entire student family, to impact our school, our local community, the nation and the world … We can work it out “with a little help from our friends” to make a difference, even if it is just a small one, in the lives of others. Just “imagine” the possibilities.

Daniel Rawlings: Humans are innately selfishly selfless organisms. In order to ensure our own survival, our genes sometimes cause us to engage in acts of altruism.

In earlier times, humans only lived with their immediate family, and family members were the only people you could ever know … Those people carry the most similar genes to you and being nice to them would help with their survival and thus the survival of YOUR own genes. However, today, we are in constant contact with people outside of our kin and our altruistic actions no longer have any restrictions.

This genetic predisposition for acting kind toward others is thus extrapolated to almost all other humans … Students at this high school have taken full advantage, freely giving to numerous charities to affect the lives of those who need it.

Nicole Migotsky: We have been blessed with the power to sympathize and the potential to feel the emotions others express. It is this empathy that has allowed our class to comprehend the suffering of a cancer patient going through chemotherapy. It is this empathy that has allowed our class to grasp the thirst of a dehydrated child in Africa. It is this empathy that leads us all to serve.

So where can service lead us in the future? Service provides us with perspective. As we become aware of the troubles others face, we begin to put our own troubles into perspective. Nothing lasts forever and at any moment we could find ourselves being the ones in need of assistance. Class of 2012, don’t take anything for granted; and keep your life in balanced perspective so you can truly appreciate the beauty that surrounds you.

Camille Skinner: In this world that surrounds us today there are more than 7 billion people, 196 countries and countless cultures. While our humanity binds each of us together as a family, it is our culture that makes us unique.

As a foreign exchange student in France junior year, I discovered just how incredible our school is compared to others. Did you know that every French teenager I met was jealous of our high schools? Or dreamed of going to prom? Or wished they could join the crowds at a football game? Why? Because we have this unique sense of community and pride. French high schools don’t have school colors or a mascot.

Special to this school is its notion of service and selflessness … We’ve learned about the incredible ways in which we can help others, whether it’s through wearing pink or starting a food drive, and how amazing we feel because of it, and that is a lesson we will never forget.

Stefanie Whitmer: Our incredible community service accomplishments have impacted us all differently. Despite your personal level of contribution, I guarantee you that every single one of you has contributed to this school and has a reason to feel proud.

Underclassmen who are watching today, I urge you to match our enthusiasm and service with your class. Just as we believed we could win the fight against cancer, I believe that you can continue the selflessness exhibited by the seniors this year.

As for my fellow graduates, I challenge you to carry the selflessness you demonstrated here with you for the rest of your life. There will always be problems in this world, but if you continue to apply the same enthusiastic service that I have seen here, I know that we, Issaquah’s graduating class of 2012, will make the world a better place.

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