Breana Del Gatto, DHS Community Council president, gave this speech at Darien High School’s graduation Thursday (as prepared):
Welcome everyone and good afternoon. I would like to welcome Mr. Harman, the Board of Education chair and the members of the Board of Education, Dr.Brenner our superintendent, Mrs. Dunn, our incredible principle, and our amazing vice principles Mr.Sullivan, Dr.Greenwood, and Mrs. Spark, the faculty, staff, and the parents and members of the class of 2016.
This is it. We aren’t teenagers anymore. In the eyes of society, and the law, we’re adults. Was how you imagined yourself to be at 18 even close to how you are now?
My four years here with all of you have been years of evolution and transformation. Throughout our four years we have experienced everything together. Being teenagers, in a small suburban town where we all know each other and everyone’s business, our emotions have become linked, and our experiences similar.
I vividly remember “Names Day” our freshman year, where many of us poured our hearts out to each other about our insecurities and the isolation and bullying we have faced or witnessed, and even to apologize to one another for any wrongdoing we had a hand in perpetrating.
We experienced four Homecomings and pep rallies, and dressed up for spirit days, some old and some new. Most of us came together to experience the complete transformation of Homecoming this year, the Homecoming Bonfire.
I cried like a baby when I saw how many people turned up, knowing how hard community council worked this year to turn homecoming into something memorable and special.
We’ve experienced deaths of friends and family, and have been here for each other through it all. We have together experienced, depression, anxiety, sadness, and isolation, and yet we’ve also experienced joy, acceptance, and growth. This is an insanely special class filled with incredibly unique people.
I’ve found more camaraderie, friendship and respect for one another than I ever dreamed I would. I truly believe that the people in this class are ones that want to make everyone’s high school, experience a remarkable one.
I thank Darien High School for being the grounds that helped me grow with all of you, and change from an insecure 14-year-old girl into the confident 18-year-old woman standing in front of you. It’s been a wild ride.
Think about all of the crazy teenage things you’ve done with your friends that just scream typical high school movie. Think about walking down the hallways with your books in hand, sitting with friends at lunch, playing in your last big sports game, presenting your art in the art show, winning big in your DECA competition, celebrating your last Ballroom Dance club performance, singing that last solo or performing that last monologue you ever will in your theater production.
Think about arguing with that teacher who won’t raise your grade just 1 point so that it’s passing, think about struggling with insecurity, making new friends and losing them.
These are all the crucial parts of what it means to be a teenager, and we all went through it together-and I couldn’t have asked for a better class to do that with.
There’s a beautiful song by Neutral Milk Hotel, called “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”, and there’s one line that I believe will always bring out my teenage nostalgia. It goes,
… but for now we are young let us lay in the sun, and count every beautiful thing that we see.
Youth doesn’t stop after high school. Being young means being perceptive, being curious-laying down on the grass and counting all of the beautiful things around you. That’s the loveliness of youth. We all have such diverse paths ahead of us that we will each shape to be our own.
Within the hustle and bustle of all of our future lives, lets take some time to “lay in the sun and count all of the beautiful things that we see.” There are too many beautiful things sitting in front of me to even count.
Finally, I would like to thank all of my wonderful friends, teachers, my brother, my dad, and my amazing mother, who have all inspired me to be everything that I am today.