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Class of 2023 "Farewell from the Senior Class" Graduation Speech

Sarah Daniels, DSHA '23
Sarah Daniels, DSHA '23, was chosen by her peers as the student who most reflected "The Spirit of the Class". Daniels will attend Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA where she plans to study history and political science. At graduation, she delivered the following speech as a "Farewell from the Senior Class".

Golly. Everyone say hello to my trusty 41 pound Megabag. It’s a hallmark of my DSHA experience, and I thought it would be a great supplement to my remarks today.

Graduates, loved ones, and distinguished faculty members, it is an honor to be here with you today. I’m so grateful to DSHA and all of my fantastic classmates for the privilege of being your class speaker. Very quickly, and before I get to the funny parts, I’d like to thank my entire family, especially my mom and my dad. And my four brothers, who all begrudgingly put their fancy clothes on for this ceremony today. All four of them, especially my little brother Andrew, have humbled me when I needed it, humbled me when I didn’t need it, and have taught me to always search for a victory royale. I’ll promise I’ll stop with the Fortnite

In all seriousness, thank you guys. As many of my fellow classmates may know, I wrote a novel titled For When I Go. Of course, it’s under a pen name, W.S. Grace. It is not published, and the only people who will
see what I wrote is the AP reader who gets my FRQ 3. To sum the entire storyline up, it was
pretty much Mulan, except I was Mulan and Shang was my celebrity crush. Much to the
chagrin of my beloved teacher, Ms. Fitch (English Faculty Wendy Fitch), and literally everyone else who wanted me to do well, I made up a novel for the AP Lit exam. I wasn’t in a time crunch, nor was I caught off
guard and blanked on other books and their plot. I wrote it to outline this speech.

Now, you may be asking yourself, what does a fanfiction about Sarah and her Civil War era crush have to do with our graduation? Why did she need to write about it for her AP exam? I do not know the answer to the second question. But, the answer to the first one is this: the unnamed female protagonist in my novel had a profound fear of being forgotten, which is exactly why she followed her mustached husband into war.

I, too, have a profound fear of being forgotten. I am also very afraid of ladybugs because they bite, fly, survive literally anything, stink when they die, and crawl.

Upon further thinking, none of us will be forgotten. I can’t listen to Bad Romance without thinking about Mr. Pav’s (Theology Faculty Danny Pavlovich) reaction to Jane blasting the song during his Council of Constantinople lecture in Church History. I can’t look at a limbo stick without saying a prayer for all of us who were humbled in front of the entire school trying, but failing, to win the game. Everytime I see a hydroflask, I think about freshman year, when the sksksksk sound haunted the halls. We’ve been through hot humid classrooms with no AC to zoom calls, teams calls, people unmuting their mic during class to ask if they could use their bathroom in their house, hybrid, and homerooms. We’ve all internally groaned when someone is using the good faucet in the second floor bathroom so the only options left are the push down ones. We all shook and shivered when we had to go to ALPHA (Academic Learning Place for Higher Achievement) for the first time to ask for a signature on a packet for biology. We can never forget the fermented dissection smell that is extremely odious and seeps from the fourth floor downward. There’s not a single hallway in this school that hasn’t been terrorized with our laughter. We all went on senior retreat, where we opened our letters from freshman year with ridiculous goals. My two big ones were to trust myself more and
learn how to spell diarrhea. There’s moments where all of us, at some point, cried, stressed,
laughed, suffered, and perhaps peed our pants a little in this school. I hope that last one’s not
exclusive to me…

If you have the same fear as me, I’m here to reassure you that you will not be forgotten. I see small reminders of all of you in my daily life. A diet Coke can reminds me of like half of you, and for the other half of you, a Celsius can reminds me of you. We’ll all remind each other of our years here. You’ve all left an imprint on my life, and you’ve left imprints on each other’s lives. Little moments that made our time so unique sometimes sneak up on us, passing us by before we’re ready to say goodbye. In my opinion, those are the moments that
we need to cherish.

We’ve all appreciated Mr. Eagon's (Instrumental Music Faculty Mark Eagon), or as I like to call him, E-dog’s, St Patrick’s Day music and life changing handbells class – I can proudly say all my life’s issues were resolved with Grace in Varsity Handbells. We’ve all begged Mrs. Metz (Theology Department Chair Lisa Metz) to go outside while she hits us with a smile so radiant it’s like the sun that we all take our resource books out automatically. We’ve all ardently avoided looking at our Apple Watches during BBGG, or Mrs. Gardner’s (Mathematics Department Chair Dawn Gardner), class. We all cherish and love Dr. Pickart (Director of Salvatorian Service Dr. Katie Daily Pickart, DSHA '84), and we all laughed a little too hard at the safety assembly at the photos of the joyous children evacuating. How could we forget Mr.
Montgomery’s (Social Studies Faculty Tom Montgomery) recorder performance? We’ve all asked multiple teachers, including Mr. Nurre (English Faculty Peter Nurre), to do the Rasputin dance or sing a song. Was that everybody? Or was that just a select few… Not a single teacher has accepted that request yet, but Mrs. Weiss (Social Studies Faculty Chris Weiss, DS '70) came close to a full olympic-esque acrobatic routine that we all enjoyed.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes for you all, “Dance like no one’s watching and sing like no one’s listening.” Except I will be both watching and listening. It is never, ever, too late my beloved teachers. I’ll pause if anyone wants to sing a spontaneous opera right now........?

No teachers want to dance right at this moment, but this class has been a shining example of dancing, through the famed One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful Just Dance song, to the renegade, to the griddy. We are all extremely grateful for the teacher’s dedication to their craft, even through our senior slide.
We have all enjoyed being in your classes, and I’m sure we’ll all look back fondly on you all.

Our biggest goodbye will be to the vending machine. It’s an integral part of my Latin class when the 7th hour starvation seems to kick in. My wonderful friend Maggie Sweeney (DSHA '23, Marian Scholar) and I always walk by it so I can peek and look for Dots pretzels. My closest friends’ “go to’s” are etched in my brain, and I fear the Mrs. Freshley's donut sticks in the bottom row; I’ve had enough bouts with food poisoning. The addition of the full Ghirardelli caramel chocolate bar for 4 dollars was curious to us all, but it became loved and accepted. It’s gotten a lot of us in trouble because, for some reason, it entices us to spend a little bit too much time lingering by it, and teachers aren’t all that appreciative of our lengthy absence. It has been such an unchanging force in our lives, always stocked, just waiting for all of us to loiter around it during any given class period.

You’ll all become amazing people, with amazing, well rounded lives, and I know we’ll always root for one another. I’ll be in your corner no matter what. Not one of us will ever forget everything that we did here. You will not be forgotten, I will not be forgotten, and the teachers will not be forgotten. It’s strange walking away from a place that fundamentally changed our lives and taught us how to grow up. But that is exactly what we need to do now. Grow up and live, which I’m sure we’ll all do well. As my man, the 16th and tallest president, my doppelganger, Abraham Lincoln says, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” I can’t wait to watch all of you create yours.

I know this is the last time we are all in a room together, so to memorialize it, I’ve brought my trusty extendable selfie stick. Feel free to pose if you’d like.

To my dear, dear, classmates, please, leave your scarf in my life and come back for it later. Linger in my doorway while we recount the Gizmos we did or the suffering we endured with Catcher in the Rye until tears run down our faces. Don’t forget us. And D-I-A-R-R-H-E-A.
    • Sarah Daniels, DSHA '23, delivers the "Farewell From the Senior Class" speech at the class of 2023 graduation ceremony.

    • Sarah Daniels, DSHA '23, and the DSHA Class of 2023 graduation selfie.

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