“A Speech About 'Eloquent Mirrors'” by Will Clarke '16

Good morning Nobles! It’s ya boi, Will Clarke, and I would like to welcome you all to the sesquicentennial graduation at the Noble and Greenough School.

Before I impart my wisdom upon you all, I would like to extend my gratitude for an incredible Nobles experience. To Mr. Henderson, thank you for the excellent leadership you provide our school. You work tirelessly to make sure this place runs smoothly and it’s often a thankless job. Know that we all thank you. To the faculty — thank you for pushing us to be our best, helping us when we need a hand, and caring for us. You all make this place so special. To the parents and family members of Class I — thank you for all the love and support you have provided us. We love you! And to the class of 2016 — Congratulations! We have all worked extremely hard throughout high school, and today all that hard work pays off. 

There are a lot of things that I will miss about this place. I’m going to miss eating my meals in a castle. I’m going to miss hearing the creaking floors of Shattuck. I’ll miss this inclusive community and all that comes with it. Being overwhelmed by the thunderous applause after an assembly performance — usually not mine. And then being dismissed by the words, “Faculty, First Class.” And the little things: Soaking in the sun out on the beach, bake sales in Gleason and driving down to the MAC for practice — Oh! Typo! Walking down to the MAC for practice. There are a lot of things that I’m going to miss about this school, but the thing that I will miss the most is the relationships I’ve developed with my teachers, and I know my classmates agree with me.

Sophomore year, a student in my English class proposed a question to our teacher, Ms. Batty. The question was this: Are the teachers our friends? Every student in the class fiercely believed that the teachers were, in fact, our friends. We were recalling all of the times the teachers have helped us out, eaten lunch with us, or just shared funny stories and common interests. We were so eager to hear our teacher tell us about how we too, were her friends as well.

She replied, “Umm... yeah, no. We’re really not.” The news devastated me like flan on taco tuesday. We were stunned. Our whole life was now a lie. I was so upset by this news that I had to ask another teacher, praying for better results. So I went to Mr. Nice Guy, also known as Mr. Roane, and asked him the same question. He dashed my hopes by replying, “Friends? No, we’re not really your friends. But we do care a lot about you.”

And it was then that a little light went off in my head: What makes this school so great is how teachers here hold us to the highest standards in every area of school life without compromising their ability to connect with each and every one of us. They exceed everyone’s expectations and hope that we, the students, do as well. If you ask any Nobles student under this tent, I would bet that each and every one of those students could all point to at least a handful of faculty and staff members who are there for them when the hurdles they face seem overwhelming. So, while the faculty may not consider us their friends, every graduate leaves today with fond memories and deep appreciation for all that we have received.

When I met with Mr. Henderson about this speech, he suggested I should add a metaphor about “Eloquent mirrors.”  I just nodded my head and wrote it down. Honestly. I had only a rough idea of what “eloquent,” meant. But I understood Mr. Henderson’s point:  The adults here help us to build upon the best parts of ourselves. Personally, the faculty have helped me navigate through my adolescence. I’m about halfway through now...not much they can do about facial hair...but while I’m still a work in progress, and I cannot thank them enough.

It’s the people who have been with me ever since my first day as an itty bitty sixie, and those that joined us later, that I need to address. Know that I will mean this for the rest of my life: I will miss you all terribly and will always love you. I am so grateful to have been a part of this group. You all have brought me so much happiness, and if I had a magic wand, I would wish that we all could continue to live our lives together. The memories I have of all of you, I will cling to forever. I will cherish them. Thank you for everything.

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“A Speech About 'Eloquent Mirrors'” by Will Clarke '16