we transition into summer I feel more aware this year than most in the past about
the many life transitions that take place at this time of year. Back near the
beginning of these Postcards in 2001 when we were discussing the music of our
lives, I observed that the surest way to spot a new hit, "back in the day,"
was if it came out giving you a feeling both joyful
and sorrowful at the same time. One of the reasons this time of year is so
poignant is that it's full of these moments. Mother's Day, proms, Memorial Day,
graduations, weddings, Father's Day, all in less than two months.
own recognition of the syndrome probably stems for the graduation of my grand-daughter
Brandi last week. It was "only" her eighth grade graduation, but it's
just one year short of the half-century anniversary of my own eighth-grade graduation,
which was a milestone. Brandi has been a 4.0 GPA student through elementary/middle
school, so the whole family went "all-out" for the occasion.
she did us all proud by being the only member of her class to be asked to present
an original speech of her own composition at the ceremony (there were about six
student speeches, but all the others were introducing other parts of the ceremony).
So without wanting to gloat, here is the transcript of Brandi's graduation speech.
(And I should set it up a bit by saying that while she was speaking she was folding
a piece of paper into a traditional origami crane):
"All of us graduating eighth
graders sitting up here on this stage are like pieces of paper. When creating
an origami figurine, you don't have to be skilled. It's just made from small folds,
detail, and creativity. You can take a simple, single slip of paper and transform
it into something beautiful.
"We start out as flat,
blank glowing sheets of paper, like this one. As we proceed in life and school,
over time, there are creases and details applied to us one by one like an indiscernible
process. Accomplishments like finally learning how to tackle those algebra
problems, memorizing the presidents and completing that hassling friction lab
adds incredible detail to us while other experiences like our first dance, crush,
boyfriend, kiss, and heartbreak add more shape to our personalities.
believe the choices you make everyday contributes to this process more than anything.
I've made enough wrong ones so far to know you'll be okay if you happen to mess
up. You should just go back, acknowledge it, and unfold the mistake making sure
the new fold is deeper and bolder. We all take the knowledge we've learned from
events like these as steps to becoming a never-finished art.
like life, is fun but fragile, too. It takes patience, caring and love to construct
a phenomenal composition. I'm going to miss everyone from Nile Garden [School]
so much I can barely even begin to explain. I'm happy to be able to say I will
carry the memories along with me on my journey forever, no matter where I go or
what I do. I appreciate all the kind people I've met who have had the open-mindedness
to accept me for who I am. To you: I am perpetually grateful.
I won't be able to stay in Manteca to watch everyone's personal origami project
take place in high school, I am enormously content with having been able to know
all of my wonderful peers at Nile for the past three years, or less, than to never
have met them at all. Each and every one of you has contributed to me being the
person I am and I have the memories and pleats to prove it.
little piece of advice is to never let anyone 'tear' you down or 'wrinkle' the
vision of your dreams and goals. I cannot wait to see what kind of masterpiece
everyone becomes but I'm sure you all will be bright, colorful, intricate, extravagant
[Holding up finished crane.]
been fun. To my fellow graduates: all my love and best wishes. I'm confident you'll
go far. There are no limits on what you can achieve, so dream as big as you can.
complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005