Friday, August 21, 2009


For some years now, I've become something of a connoisseur of graduation ceremonies and speeches. Not your elaborate, highfalutin ceremonies and speeches, mind you. I gave a speech at my high school graduation 38 years ago, one I'm sure was full of words meant to impress: highly forgettable words, words of the head and not, surely not, from the heart. I am not trying to be overly modest here: I know my MO from those days: if I could say it in more words, and longer words, and more incomprehensible words, I was all for it. Readers of the posts here in Muravia might argue that not much has changed in that regard, but the distinction is this: here in Muravia, my incomprehensibility is in pursuit of a muse; at Callaway High School in 1971, I was in pursuit of ego gratification; my words then might have impressed, but they were, I'm sure, highly predictable as well.

My tastes in graduation ceremonies and their inevitable speeches, then, run to the short and the sweet and the deceptively simple: I want my speeches to steal in and bring tears to my eyes: I could give a shit about longwinded (and long-winding) circumlocutions.

I first ran across such speeches at a local career school at which I taught for about four years before settling down at the Instituto. I found myself quite moved by very simple stories of thanks and gratitude and inspiration. At one graduation, I listened while one adult graduate thanked her classmates for pulling her through a nine month bout of dealing with cancer as she also pursued her education. Folks simply spoke from their hearts, and I invariably found myself deeply moved.

Last night, I attended a graduation ceremony for a former student who finished up at an alternative school here in Tres Leches. She was part of a larger group of summer graduates from the high schools of one of our public school districts: there were perhaps 80 or so grads in all.

The commencement speaker, representing all the graduates, strode confidently to the podium and laid down a wonderfully affirming speech for all of about four minutes. As she brought her comments to a close, she said, "I think I can sum up what I'm trying to say here in 5 words: Love wins. Love ALWAYS wins."

I was rocked and blown away, and I feel as if the words were inscribed on my heart.

Imagine all the bullshit that could have been thrown down for the occasion (the kind of bullshit I have certainly tossed in my day) and this one chica, summer graduate of the Winston Churchill High School Class of 2009, cuts through it all and nails it.

May we all commence in such fashion, because in spite of all our fears and cynicisms and modern day forgetfulness, it certainly does. It always does.



Blogger Teresa said...

Amen, bro. Murat, amen. I love the final line of that speech.

1:46 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Teresa: She rocked: I was certainly blazing.

3:12 PM  
Blogger anno said...

Wise words; unforgettable, too: the perfect words to carry into anyone's next stage of life. Thanks for sharing these.

4:49 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Anno: A wise chica spoke them. I loved the sureness of her voice as she laid them down.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

I started to write at least six things to comment. Nothing needs to be added to that so - amen.

11:54 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: Si.

6:44 AM  

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