Earlier this week as I led your hyperactive faces around the school, I heard a variety of remarks from your mouths that betwixt me, amused me -- but didn't surprise me:
"Are you kidding me? There are no hot people here -- they all go to public school!" "Häagen-Dazs ice cream?! I love this school!" "So I'm just wondering -- how short can our skirts be without getting in trouble?"And so I walked you through the hallways, into the administration's offices, to the quad, through the dining hall, into the skybox, through the journalism room, past the lockers -- and back to the gym, where you received a black goodie bag engraved with the school's logo in gold leaf.
It saddened me to realize that as you begin your high-school journey this fall, I will be close to the end.
You will learn a lot in your next four years at this school. Despite what you may have heard from outsiders, there are lots of extremely good-looking people at this school -- take a look at our stunning homecoming princesses -- who go on to schools such as Stanford and Harvard. Short miniskirts and halter tops do not make a person beautiful -- and neither do designer clothes. You will learn more about beauty here than you can ever imagine -- beauty in its pure essence, underneath the cloaks of make-up and fine clothes. The people here glow -- because they have goals and dreams to achieve.
Your high-school is one of the top 20 schools in sending their graduates to top schools according The Wall Street Journal -- even though the school has only been around for about 6 years. Of course, this study only considers eight colleges and is highly inaccurate because there are obviously hundreds of wonderful and enriching high-schools in the world that are not on this list -- but talk to any college admissions director, and he or she will know your school. You are extremely blessed to have the privilege (yes, privilege -- no one is entitled to a prestigious prep school education) to attend such a fine institution, with some of the top AP programs in the world (according to College Board).
Not surprisingly, you will never think you're good enough. You will be surrounded by a student body with dreams just as big as yours -- but with little expectations. You will be humbled, stressed, overwhelmed -- and proud.
But really, as I bid you farewell after your campus tour (I'm sorry if I was rather incoherent) -- I wanted to embrace each and every one of you. I sat in advisory yesterday, with a group of classmates I didn't really know but chatted with every Thursday as we munched on hot chocolate and strawberry shortcake. I saw people crying from the stress at our school, people talking about struggling with depression -- and I realized that no school is perfect.
Yep, you'll probably get detention if you don't do your homework -- but the teachers are so nurturing and determined to help you succeed that you'll want to do your work even if you don't enjoy the subject -- because you'll respect your teachers that much. Yes, you're going to be working really hard -- but you probably already know that, given the reputation of the school around here.
This school has its flaws -- but you will learn to embrace it, even if you graduate with relief. This is a school where all the teachers know your name, even if they've never taught you. This is a school where your peers know your name, even if you might not. This is a school that nurtures your intellectual growth -- but no, you're going to learn so much more than that. My friends are like family -- and the hallways are as familiar to me as my own bedroom.
Welcome, my dears. Hope you enjoyed the Häagen-Dazs -- because some days you're going to be too busy to eat lunch.