May 2013, Pine View High School, Florida
My name’s Arjun.
Graduates, parents, Coach Bay and the [half show oysters], esteemed faculty and administration, and of course Dr Dean.
Good afternoon, and congratulations to the Pine View Class of 2013.
I would like to say, thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak. I am a hundred percent sure you will regret it. Now, I would be remiss if I addressed the class of 2013 without mentioning a classmate who is no longer with us. TR was an amazing friend of mine, a brilliant violinist, and a genuinely good person. And I’m truly saddened that he couldn’t be graduating with all of us today. I would hope that in all we can do we will never forget TR, our classmate, and that we can keep his memory alive.
But before I begin I want to apologise for the abundance of quotes that I will employ today. I thought it was only appropriate given how quotatiously inclined our departing principal Mr Lago is, to include the wise words of many sagacious individuals. With that I’d like to start with a quote from rapper and philosopher Nick Minaj. In her conveniently titled song High School, she sings [singing] ‘anywhere, everywhere, baby it’s your world, aint it /Baby it’s your world, aint it?’
I could go on but I digress.
I realise that I probably shouldn’t be saying ‘aint’ at a celebration of the triumph of education. But that is my theme for today, ladies and gentlemen, babies it’s your world. You just have to own it. Being a graduate of Pine View High School means you ‘ll be left on your own to conquer the real world. It means there is no more hand holding, no more living with mom and dad, no more wildly inappropriate PhD commentary, and sadly, no more Nacho Day.
Graduating means using your Pine View education to be successful, and to give back to the community that we have been so blessed to come from. Yet recalling the thirteenth president or the derivative of 4x4, is not the education that will really make you change this world. (By the way it’s Millard Filmore and 16x3). This dumb guy Albert Einstein once said, ‘education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school’. After so many years at Pine View, we have learned how to learn, and have been taught not so much what to think, but how to think. And that is the true measure of our Pine View education.
More than anything, I urge you all to dream and to dare and don’t be afraid of failing in your aspirations. My boy Teddy Roosevelt once said, ‘far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure, than to live in the grey twilight that knows no victory nor defeat .
And that my friends, is what we should do.
From this country’s inception, from when our founding fathers dared to envision a brand new nation, to the space race, when Americans dared to put a man on the moon, to the glorious KFC double down, when we dared to replace the bread on a sandwich with not one but two chicken patties! Ladies and gentleman, success has always been about daring.
So the thought I’ll leave you with today is in your post high school life, don’t shy away from using your many gifts. Whether you want to be a big time lawyer, a chemist, whether you want to be a doctor, yes I’m talking to the Indian kids out there, whether you want to be an SNL cast member, or whether you just want to ‘play the por-tes’. Go for it. And apply to be on MTV, may they always help you out.
But seriously, if you don’t dare, you’ll just be another smart kid. So, I hope you do, because, baby, it’s your world. Aint it?