2018 Graduation Commencement Speech

Written By Hunter Harris

Good evening honored guests, families, friends, faculty, and soon to be graduates of the class of 2018!

I have a few words of advice I'd like to give to everyone. To begin, author Dan Millman says "I learned that we can do anything, but we can't do everything... at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything." This quote really shows how we're always told we can do anything, but I think with that comes the mistaken expectation that we need to actually accomplish everything, and do so perfectly. This can create unnecessary pressures and stress in our lives. For example, grades aren't everything. There's much more to a person and their worth than just what's in the gradebook. While grades are definitely important and essential to getting into college or getting a degree, they should not be the only priority. Class ranking is not a major focus at Pathways, and I think that's a good thing. The pressure to have the best grades can consume people, and that is unnecessary. Having the best grades doesn't matter if the pursuit of those grades consumes all of your time and prevents you from doing anything else.

Pathways teaches many important life skills such as problem solving, working as a team, and project based learning. Life skills are as important, if not more so, than "book smarts." Back in Mr. Vargas's Video Game Design class, I created the Meme Scroller video game. This was possible because of the open ended nature of the project we were given. Life isn't about following a specific set of guidelines and criteria, but instead a collection of projects where you have to think for yourself and create your own outcome. This project did not require a huge amount of technical know-how, but instead required creative and independent thinking. In Ms. Maurer's AP Literature and Composition class, we were forced against our will into randomized groups to help break us out of our comfort zones and work with new people, which can be difficult in such a diverse school, but is an essential skill to have, and teaches us to see new perspectives that we otherwise would not have.

Through Pathways' internships, I've experienced 3 different environments, ranging from working at home remotely to contributing to the large corporate environment of Travelers. Through these experiences, I learned that other skills like communication, public speaking, and independent thinking are also very important. These skills will matter much more later in life than grades ever will.

Getting real world experience should be high on the list of priorities. Go out and find your own experiences with different people and environments and watch your skillset expand. Priority setting will be essential throughout life, and will enable you to succeed and experience all that life has to offer. These last 4 years have been quite the adventure, full of both good and bad events for everyone, but it's time to look to the future, and I wish you all the best.

Thank you