Graduation 2020 Speech by Callum Sullivan I was picturing what graduation would look like this year. An empty field, a silent blue building Not the lively event I had anticipated. As the Rolling Stones put it: Life was so beautiful Then we all got locked down Feel like a ghost Living in a ghost town But that is not what I see. I see no empty field and silent blue building Under those trees, I see us eating lunch Over on that hill, I see an acorn fight as the sun goes down on the Holiday Fair. In the lobby, I see your glowing face the day I returned from foreign exchange. I’m not going to start on all things that are happening in that small rectangular area we call “the bricks.” I see those who left Hartsbrook along the way, even if they cannot see us. At my feet, on the grass, I see us sitting in white chairs, admiring the significantly older high schoolers, and singing “The Happy Wanderer.” And so, taking on a new, reverent meaning, I will say it once more. I’m a ghost Living in a ghost town. Graduation 2020 Speech by Janna Gilleman Consider the stone. Consider the stone. Deep in the night. Its view unlike our own. For it, night and day sweep by–the cool darkness flooding past into pink and purple dawn. What would it be like to see through the eyes of this stone? It sits at the base of a tree, remaining mostly still but every once in a while the cool breeze kisses its face or a rainstorm will carry it a few millimeters away. The bugs became its friends, but it watches from afar as the centipedes and millipedes scurry by, too busy to notice the thoughts of a sleeping consciousness. But we are not. Let us imagine what that consciousness might be like, if awoken. One day a creature came along–in a little yellow rain jacket and golden pig tails, freckles covering her chubby face. The girl with the ladybug rainboots stumbled by and with a loving impulsivity picked me up. For that moment my usual omnipotent glance screeched to a halt–and I was there living in the moment, with her. I’d lived so long I had forgotten what moving was, that there was any other place in the universe besides my view from the base of that tree, but suddenly from that little girl’s hand I soared–across the vast expanse of all that is sweet sky and clouds. Away I went. And then splash, plink, and again I went–yet further. Not only flying but dancing, dancing across a crystal expanse–sending little ripples away racing to greet me. Each time I could see more and more: huge spires in the sky with rotating wheels, taking the wind that I was soaring through and harvesting it for energy. A huge mound, ever so far away, yet so tall the sun was reaching down to sleep beneath it, its fiery breath taking one last yawn. And the stars, oh the stars–I had never come so close to embracing them. And so with that last jump I sunk- hit the water and slipped, down to the grassy sea floor. A whole new scene to explore. And if it weren’t for that little girl, I never would’ve skipped across that water and appreciated that there was yet again so much more. For that is really what true consciousness does. It frees you. Frees you to explore and seek to understand, to realize the temporary perspective of a static state, and realize the fortune of movement, of activity. That the whole world is alive and teeming with new, different and similar things all at once. That there is so much to be found and loved and appreciated. And so very many ways of looking and living. There is an everything about life. And that is what Hartbrook has taught me. Just as much and more than what is within you, there is within the world. So live your life preciously, do whatever you can to really live it. Love the things you learn, and by no means ever tamp down your curiosity. The things we learn in school like Meteorology and Geology, Mathematics and Philosophy, they really exist in this world. The earth–hold it loosely in your living hands, and you will feel that it too lives. Physics–notice it as you race across the fields and feel the wind in your hair and the weight of the earth pulling itself towards you. Here, at Hartsbrook, these lessons skip and dance, and in this same way, the contents and abilities of our minds do too. These freeing qualities I have been talking about were not instilled in me by some otherworldly, God-like entity that is The Waldorf School, but out of the real, living, mortal people who have assembled here together to form it. One above all. Mr. Weems, a champion of knowledge, of intellectual and spiritual curiosity, of moral responsibility, and motivation of will, has been my advisor, teacher, and role model since the 8th grade. And I know he has been this too for countless others, in fact ever since the founding of the highschool itself. Every first advisory meeting of the year, he would ask: “So, What’s Important?” Such an open ended question, especially as a 9th Grader, hits you hard. Well, I don’t know, air is pretty important–I suppose some would answer getting into a respected college perhaps, or maybe just finding friends. After 4 years I’ve come up with a new set of brainstorms–based on what I see and have seen Mr. Weems displaying every second of every day. It is important to question, to love, to learn. It is important to be the best you possibly can be, and if you ever aren’t, to make up for it. It is important to never let yourself be cruel, nor cowardly, and to always do not what you might be told is right, but what you know yourself to be right. To help people and to be there, even if it means sacrificing your own time and energy as he has done for us so many times. He shows me it is important to lead by example. To present only the truth and never wishes. It is important to be responsible, to see others not as you perceive them to be, but as they will inwardly broadcast to you. It is important to have so much imagination- again to see into others souls, into the world, whole heartedly, without your own judgments or experiences, or ego mixing things up. It is important to have an understanding of the forces you encounter, whether it be digital technology, the human spirit, or the weather. To know that you are capable of knowing, interacting with, and understanding so much. And that you are personally also capable of doing so much goodness with these understandings. These are the lessons he teaches us just. by. existing.