Student Voices at Graduation: Transcripts of the ’23 Senior Speeches


Anna Rozinsky, President of the Class, gives her speech.

Anna Rozinsky, President of the Class of 2023, gave the farewell address. Having served as Class President for multiple years, she helped organize many of the events that brought the senior class together: Junior Prom, Senior Banquet, and Senior Picnic, just to name a few. After these years of hard work, she had the honor to lead the turning of the class’s tassels and to give this speech.

Several weeks ago, I received a letter from my younger self: one that I wrote on my very first day of freshman year, in Mr Alzamora’s history class. In this letter, my freshman self shared her hopes for what I would accomplish during my high school career, and what I thought my future would look like post-graduation. I had forgotten all about this letter and what I had written, until I opened it again a couple doors down the hall from where I first wrote it back in 2019. However, when I opened it, I was a little disappointed. A majority of what I had written to myself was about my social life and getting a date for prom. I shared my slight disappointment with Mr Alzamora that day, and he said something to me that stuck. He said, “That’s exactly why I like teaching freshmen. Not because I like freshmen, but because I get to see you grow up afterwards.” 

I thought about what Mr Alzamora said that day on my way home from school, and I came to the realization that I’ve changed, we’ve all changed, in the several years since we first stepped foot into the high school. No longer are we the small freshmen with fear in our eyes as we tried to navigate the school, getting lost going from the C wing to the A wing. We aren’t the sophomores with our little black screens on Zoom as we learn math and history from our bedrooms. And we aren’t the juniors with our masks on, re-learning the ins and outs of high school, struggling to get the hang of studying again. We can now finally say we are well seasoned veterans of Methacton High School– Class of 2023, we survived. 

As we all move onto the next chapter, it is difficult to know what comes next. Four years ago, I had a difficult time knowing what was in store for my high school career. Standing before you today, I can tell you I am still not fully sure of what I want in the next four years either. But that’s what’s so exciting about change. We never fully know what lays ahead. It’s completely up to us to take ourselves in the best direction. It’s what we did in high school when we chose our classes, our seats at lunch, our friends. Each decision we made took us one step closer to this day, to right now. 

The choices that we have made throughout high school may not have been the right one or the easiest one. Sometimes the decisions we make surprise us. In the letter I wrote freshman year, I told myself that I was going to be graduating and going to Michigan State, and I said I thought that I would be studying biochemistry. It took only a few chemistry classes before I decided that was certainly not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. That was a quick decision. I knew that it wasn’t for me, and I’ve stuck by that. I’ve also had to make harder decisions in the last few years, choices that I didn’t necessarily want to make, but knew that I would be better for them. But while easier decisions may help direct you on your path, harder ones change you on your journey. 

We are all only teenagers. We have time to make so many choices. I know that you may want to be on the right path from the start and have it all figured out, but you’re allowed to go on the wrong path for a little while too. All it does is eventually send you to a better one. Give yourself time to figure out what you want.

And to quote my favorite TV show, Ted Lasso, “It will all work out. Now, it may not work out how you think it will, or how you hope it does, but believe me, it will all work out exactly how it’s supposed to. Our job is to have zero expectations, and to just let go.”

Our time in high school has come to a close. Whether you look back on the last four years with fondness or regret or any emotion in between, I hope at the very least that you’re proud of yourself. The last few years have not been normal, and we somehow made it. Each of us entered the building in 2019 with different expectations for what our time at Methacton would look like. Over the years our expectations changed as we changed, and now here we all are, together one final time with the same final goal: to graduate. 

Methacton Class of 2023, it has been an honor to serve as your president, and I wish each and everyone of you the best of luck. 

Daniel Johnson, Voice of the Class of 2023, gave the other student speech at graduation. The Voice of the Class is a position chosen by a committee of teachers, students, and administrators who are looking for a speech to join the President’s in wishing the graduating class farewell. This was his message:

I’d like to start another senior skip day account. And to quote what those accounts said back in the fall: This is the REAL skip day account, don’t listen to any of the others, repost this to get more people following this one, unfollow the other accounts, this is the one that’ll really listen to the people, this is the last one. Am I missing anything? We had all those accounts, all those voices telling us these ideas, but we never could decide on one. So while I’m up here on this podium, your Voice of the Class, let me finally fix that. Tomorrow, June 14, is the official last day of school at Methacton. Raise your hand if you want tomorrow to be our first successful senior skip day. 

Skip day it is! Just so you know– following skip day account tradition, I was going to make it a skip day no matter what you voted. 

That makes today our last day together as a class. And we’ve already experienced plenty of “last”s this school year: Your last game, your last performance, your last freshman you kicked out of the senior Commons, your last time pretending to make a SmartPass, and in a few hours, your last time trying to pull out of this maze of a parking lot.

So following the usual graduation speech format, this is when I start talking about “firsts.”  You’re taking your first steps into the outside world, your first steps without your old friends, some metaphor about a brand-new blank page ready to be filled with your trials and adventures.

Blah. Blah. Blah. My first draft of this speech sounded a lot like that; I think if I tried giving that speech, you’d fall asleep by the second paragraph. I did ask, but unfortunately we weren’t able to get a screen out here with some Subway Surfers gameplay to keep you all engaged. So I scrapped that draft with no regrets.

The life lessons of typical graduation speeches aren’t so useful to us anymore. I can’t just tell you to embrace change– the last three years already taught us that. We are the last class of high schoolers to experience high school before COVID. Soak that in, even the juniors never saw high school in real life pre-pandemic. And after a year-and-a-half of pretending to be awake in our Zoom meetings, we are the class that helped re-teach all the grades under us how to be a high schooler. What more can I tell you about change?

I can’t tell you that you’re entering a new world totally unlike our high school environment. You know the world isn’t always pretty, you’ve seen bad things happen to good people, and social circles are alive and well in the adult world. Sure, we’ll get better at navigating it as we grow, but we’ve already become a part of it.  

I can’t just tell you to work hard or to let loose. With the way our sports teams, music ensembles, clubs, and grades bounced back after the pandemic, we have been working hard. And with all the other plans you’re ready to get to this week, I definitely don’t need to tell you to let loose.

So if you’re afraid that you’re not ready to leave this school, take some comfort from knowing you already have experience in all of those things. But then, what can I tell you? You asked me to be the Voice of the Class, to tell you something worth remembering. So if I can’t draw inspiration from those types of grad speeches, let me draw it from our year-round Voice of the Class. I don’t know all of you personally (I wish I did), but even if you’ve hardly spoken to me before, I’m willing to bet you’ve seen the articles coming out of the school newspaper, telling our stories. I think that’s more impactful than some guy standing up here telling you things. So let me tell you something I learned from the Windy Hill newspaper: Keep asking questions. It’s the thing kids do best, and adults forget the most. Question the world around you.

At a time when you have a million different options for your future, ask yourself what you value most. In a world where news channels and social media feeds are full of misinformation, ask yourself if there’s bias in what you’re reading. In a society where our knowledge and social norms are constantly evolving, ask yourself if this time, you’re the one that made a mistake. 

Ask yourself: Do I need help? Do I have more to learn here? Am I happy? Did I put on enough deodorant this morning? (Having been on the Mini-Thon dance floor, the answer is no.) 

Ask others: Can you teach me about this? Why’d you say that to them? Why do you believe that? Can you hurry up your speech so I can get my diploma already (No, sit here and suffer.)  

You’ve got the tools to do that kind of critical thinking: You learned to look for an author’s message in English class, you learned to prove your work in Math, you learned that history can be told from many different perspectives in Social Studies, you learned that we’re constantly learning more about the world in Science. In those classrooms, you built the analytical skills that will help you navigate the world outside. 20 years from now, you might not remember your trig functions, but I hope you can still think critically about the world.

You’ve asked your teachers plenty of questions over the years. But once you leave this campus, you’ll be the one driving your education– so never let fear or pride keep you from learning more. Keep being a student. Keep observing, criticizing, reflecting. Keep asking the difficult questions, to yourself and to others. And when you hear the answer, don’t be afraid to change your mind. If you can still be a student when you’re old and grey and watching yet another Disney remake-of-a-remake, you’re gonna be just fine.

We’ve been told that our generation is lazy. That our generation is too soft. That our generation is on their phones too much. Okay, that last one might be true. But this is our time to break the expectations. To stand up and act on the things we believe in. To think critically about the world, ourselves, and each other. To take the time to include other people. And with those phones, to look back on the memories we’ve made. 

Today our paths split in almost 400 different directions, but we’ll never forget the place where we started. Our graduation today proves that we made it in here. And with the pride of a graduate and the humility of a student— tomorrow, we’ll make it out there. Congratulations, Class of 2023, for 12 years of being a student, and a lifetime to come. 

Watch both their speeches here: