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2013 Senior Farewell: Alec Pollard '13

alecpollardThe Senior Farewell at the 48th Commencement Exercises was given by Alec Pollard ‘13.

So what a class we’ve been… hmm kind of a tricky one. What kind of a class were we? Were we the loudest class? No. Were we the biggest class? No. Did we cause the most trouble, raise the most money win the most competitions? No, no, no. What did we do? …. What words should I use to define this class? We never believed that we would be the first or last to stand here on this stage, to pass through these hallways. We accepted this. We did not try to define a generation, only exemplify age-old values. Things so old our parents told us about them. The same lessons that have been passed from generation to generation follow one more graduating class at CSS.

But that brings us back to our dilemma, what words to use? How about, I don’t know, “Strength?” I guess that’ll work; I mean when I hear “strength,” I remember our determination to stand by our decisions, our refusal to be torn apart by challenge. I would be lying if I said that it was smooth sailing for the ladies and gentleman now sitting before you. What challenge can I describe that at least one of us has not overcome? I need only ask the parents, “How many times did you see someone on this stage struggle?” But you see, there is a second question that must be asked “how many times did that individual find the strength to overcome those struggles?” This class, who has done something so common to every human being, yet something unique, something magnificent, now sits here to be recognized, because of the struggles overcome. So, yes, I can proudly call our class “strong.”

All right, that’s one word. What’s another one? Maybe I touched on it earlier …hmmm … “Humility.” Now I can already here the chuckles “Really he’s bragging about being humble” but bear with me. You see, as one writer puts it “Humility is not smart men pretending that they’re stupid or pretty women pretending that they’re ugly.” Humility is deeper than that. True humility is being able to achieve something truly amazing, know it to be amazing, and instead take joy in the accomplishments of others. Humility is not about putting oneself down, but raising others up. And this class always valued others. This was a class that did not go about saying, “This is our time; we need to give ourselves the perfect high school experience.” The question asked, the question we bickered about was, “What will we leave behind? What will we give to those who follow?” To us, CSS was more than just one year, more than four years. It was our duty to value every accomplishment, every triumph regardless of whose it was. This, I suppose, is what distinguishes this class as humble.

Okay, we have two words. That’s pretty good. And the last world comes pretty naturally. It’s the only one that comes to mind instantly. “Integrity.” Integrity is the ability to stay true to oneself and one’s values. And that might be best exemplified when I tell you of one spirit week. The week began and the class competitions commenced. The first event: an all school Easter-egg hunt. People scrambled about, frantic to win, swept away by competition. We did our best, and when the tallies came in, we did not collect the most eggs. Still we won. We were the only class to follow the all of the rules and avoid the temptation to cut corners in order to win. It was stupid, trivial, yet still this class held fast to its values.

So there you have it, the class of 2013, a class marked by strength, humility and integrity. Three words to describe us. Only three, and I dare not use any more, for in using too many words, I risk misrepresenting the spirit of the class, the spirit of individuality.

When I look at this stage I do not see the graduating class of 2013, I see 31 unique students, each one with a story, each one with a drive, each one an individual in the truest sense of the word, and each one standing proudly upon this stage having walked a path no one else will be able to truly appreciate. Who am I to stand on pomp in front of you? Who am I to spend all day trying to define and articulate the bewildering complexity even one student here, let alone thirty-one? Three words are enough to give you a rough idea of the class of 2013. To know more is not something that can be done listening to a speech, but it is a privilege I hope each of you may share.”