Family, friends, administration, faculty, and distinguished guests, on behalf of the graduating class of 2016 I would like to thank you for being here today and sharing in this momentous occasion.

I would like to start my speech with two short disclaimers.  The first is that I’m clearly the least qualified person on this field to be giving anyone advice — heck, most of the people here today have graduated college, or at the very least have their driver’s license, something I still lack. The second is that this speech will be filled with references to Drake and rowing.

In his masterful song “10 bands, Drake raps this magical verse: “Where you movin’? I said onto better things,” and much like Drake I have no doubt that we will. I am sure that everyone here is ready to do just that, to leave high school and maybe even Wilton behind in order to start this journey. However, I think it’s important to note that we’ve had the honor and privilege of starting, unlike Drake, not from the bottom, but from Wilton, and thank the community we’ve been so fortunate to have around us.

Throughout our four years, we have learned so much from our Wilton community.

We have watched Warriors win state and FCIAC championships in tennis, basketball, skiing, field hockey, lacrosse, track, and many more, but never be boastful or arrogant about their excellence.

We have seen every Wilton student, in their own special way, display passion and intensity for what they believe in, whether it be chemistry, oil painting, or getting the lighting right on that Instagram of a Milkcraft ice cream.

Most importantly, we’ve seen so much kindness from individuals in our class towards others. Whether it’s helping another student with school work, picking up trash in the hallways, or carrying my tuba for me when I’m tired. I know that this unique sense of consideration each individual has for others is something special to Wilton, and special to our class.

All in all, I’ve had the unique pleasure of growing up with you excellent, kind, always winning overachievers, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You have pushed me to be better, aspire for more, and work harder, and I want to take that with me wherever I go.

No matter what students have already accomplished to make an impact on this town, they aim to make an impact around the world. We want millions of people to view our art, read our words, hear our music, to be cured via our healing hands, and want to have a hand in shaping the policies of our nation. I’m inspired to do more by the dreams of the people I have seen in my classes, and the influence of teachers like Mr. Gawle and Mr. Rhodes and many others.

My rowing coach always says that in rowing there are three types of people, the boat movers who make it happen, the boat members who watch as it happens, and some who just ask what the heck just happened.

My hope for our class is that we go into to the world as boat movers not only remembering the successes we have had in Wilton, but use the strength of the community we have built here to be resilient throughout our lives. The world is changing fast -- there’s a new Snapchat filter every day -- and there are so many opportunities to take different paths in this world. I hope that we always remember the reason why we’re dedicated to our purposes to change the world, and use it to bolster our dreams during the hard times, the times when the world seems so full of problems to fix and too few solutions. I hope that when we fail, we remember that our true goal and North Star is to just be kinder to each other, and hope that when we’re in moments of doubt, we remember that the right thing to do is to build our character.

In closing I would like to thank everyone who has helped us reach this milestone. Thank you Wilton High for providing us with the most caring and passionate teachers, administrators, and staff who have constantly pushed us to exceed expectations and forgiven our slightly late assignments. Thank you for helping shape us into the standout athletes, incredible musicians, theatre geniuses, award winning artists, budding environmentalists, and overall incredible people that sit before you.

Thank you for giving us the roots, the opportunity, the truly unique privilege that so few people get,  to grow into whatever we want to be. To my classmates thank you for making a difference in my life.

I now ask the class of 2016 to join me in standing. Please turn your tassels from the right side to the left.

I now present the WILTON HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 2016.