"Never Say 'No' to a Free Dessert" by Ted Steinberg, School Life Council President

Welcome parents, friends, teachers, students, graduates, guests and the Class of 2012. Thank you all for coming today. I’m honored to be up hear speaking on behalf of the seniors.

Mrs. Guy says never worry alone. That’s great advice, but there were times over my high school career in which I kind of wanted to worry alone. I’ve since realized how much it helps to have someone there for support and, despite your best efforts, no one worries alone at Nobles.

Coming out of Needham middle school, freshman year was an interesting transition for me. Eighth grade was a lot like senior spring. My backpack spent most nights in the car and I spent more weeknights at Fenway Park than I did at my desk. Then came freshman geometry with Mr. Kehlenbeck. For the first time in my life, my tests were not “post on the fridge” worthy, but Mr. Kehlenbeck cared about me. He did give me one grade of which I can be proud. As my baseball coach, he gave me an A- with an effort star on a play at second base. Thanks, Mr. Kehlenbeck.

Throughout my early struggles I looked for support outside of school. I turned to my dad for advice, but even his great teachings couldn’t help me through math. My dad knows what’s up. I think of him as the Jewish Dom Mazzetti. He has his rules that he lives by and it’s worked out well for him. I’ll always remember his wisest words; a piece of advice I shall forever live by: “Never say 'no' to a free dessert.” This has nothing to do with math, but I’ve tasted a lot of great desserts since then. Mr. Kehlenbeck had a different approach, he pushed me along and told me that as long as I was putting in effort, things would work out. We met weekly to try and conquer my fear of the rhombus. I worked really hard in these meetings with him, and all my hard work did not pay off. At all. Math just wasn’t my thing. It would have been very easy for me to freak out and give up, but even though it was evident I just couldn’t get the material, Mr. Kehlenbeck was always there to support me.

I always thought of teachers as people to teach me some material that I would forget as soon as summer hit. That wasn’t the case at Nobles. The teachers here care about all the students. Even teachers I’ve never had class with have been there to support me and just listen when I needed someone to talk to. When Mr. Spence says, “My door is always open,” he’s telling the truth. He is a great listener. He’s very easy to connect with and trust. Even if nothing was wrong, I would go to Mr. Spence’s office to remind him how pathetic the Montreal Canadiens were and to hear his stories about him taking men’s league hockey far too seriously. I never thought I needed to speak to one of the Nobles counselors. Admitting that you need help is a hard thing to do. But it’s the support from faculty that distinguishes Nobles from other schools.

As a kid, I like to believe adults have no idea what’s going on in our teenage world. However, as my mom reminds me, she was a teenager, too. Just like my mom, the teachers at Nobles can tell when something is wrong and they want to help in any way possible. As Nobles students, we have such a great support system right in front of us. I can’t thank the faculty enough for their support. I didn’t realize how important student-teacher relationships are until I found myself developing so many of them. Whether it’s students reaching out to teachers, or teachers reaching out to students, take advantage of the faculty. They care about us as people, not just as students. The teachers won’t let you worry alone.

The community here is made up of more than caring teachers. Call me biased, but I think the Class of 2012 is awesome. I’ve never seen a group of kids who generally care about each other more than this class. If something went wrong, I knew I’d have 106 kids I could talk to. With our class, I couldn’t worry alone, even if I wanted to. I’ve had my share of bad days, and in each of them someone came up to me asking if I was alright. I’m not one who tends to wear my heart on my sleeve, but somehow people could tell if I was upset. I feel like I’ve had some great Phoenix talks with people about the good good of life. I’ll never forget the time this past winter when Jeff Wong and I sat and talked for two and half hours about our time at Nobles. We shared our favorite memories and promised to fix any regrets. It wasn’t until then that I realized my time at Nobles was coming to an end, and how much I would miss everyone I’ve spent the last four (some three, some two, and one…Steve Miller) years with. I’m going to try to keep in touch with as many of them as I can and I can’t wait to see all the great things they’ll do.

I’d like to take this time to thank everyone for their love and support to this senior class throughout the year. As much as I wish we were given a new castle, it’s ok, we’ve had a good run of it. I’d like to remind everyone in this room to call me, beep me if you want to reach me. Don’t ever think you’re worrying alone. Congratulations to the class of 2012.

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Never Say "No" to a Free Dessert by Ted Steinberg, School Life Council President