Editor’s note: below are the five prepared student speeches for the June 21 Skaneateles High School Graduation ceremony in Clift Park. The speech by Matt Leverich honoring retiring principal Georgette Hoskins and the speech by Elise Pajak were cut from the ceremony due to an impending thunderstorm.
Matt Leverich — welcome address
For the past 13 years, we have all pursued the same three paramount, inalienable rights that have endured the test that is time for the past 237 years. We pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with the same vigor that Thomas Jefferson envisioned the American dream to be when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. He and 55 other men took that leap of faith with their signatures not knowing where they would end up later on in life. My fellow classmates, we are closing a segment of the journey that is life, and opening a new chapter to realize that dream; we are indeed taking a leap of faith. We must not go where the path may lead, we must instead go to where there is no path, and create our own trails.
We have all achieved our successes and prosperity through a commitment and dedication to excellence; a commitment that is deduced from the most powerful element of life: passion. Skaneateles is like the Amazon River; through its many outlets and branches, we find many different passions. Through each branch, passion runs fervently, and often floods. We are truly fortunate to reside in a community and attend a school where there is no shortage of passion. Extraordinary minds between staff, community, students, parents, and administrators collaborate to produce the excellence that is a Skaneateles education. It is what makes Skaneateles unique. You can be a rising dramatist and find companions that share your same level of passion and dedication. You can be a three-sport athlete and find that same culture as well. As we sit here today ready to begin our next phase of life, we must remember where we came from, and never forget those who have provided for us. No matter where we venture off in life, Skaneateles will always linger within our souls.