Thursday, June 7, 2012

Today's the day

Graduation is today. I can't believe it actually ever came.
Remember how graduating isn't sad but saying goodbye is? Here's the thank you bit of my graduation speech. It feels so true it hurts:

Thank you to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents, neighbors, friends – all who have played a role in helping us get here today. We appreciate the sacrifices you have made to get us to where we are, the fights you have fought for us, and the love with which you have taught us.
Thank you to the administrators and teachers of Waterford. We relied on you as constant forces of goodness in our lives, and as role models for people we’d like to become. Thank you for believing in us, making sure we knew it, and pushing us until we too, believed in ourselves.
Additionally, each one of us graduating today especially thanks someone - often many someones - who has gone out of his or her way to individually take care of us, teach us, put us on the right path, do what was best for us far beyond what was required. To the deans, coaches and teachers who personally made immeasurable differences in our individual lives through their actions big and small we offer a deeply felt and most sincere thank you.
Finally, the class of 2012 would like to extend a special thank you to Mr. Alexander for being our exceptional dean for the past four years. Thank you for being our friend, ally, teacher, confidante, and for knowing what was best for us far better than we did. Thank you for knowing us individually – for being the one that would listen, talk, tell us we were out of uniform, and thank you for joking with us while insisting we serve our detentions. Thank you for the life advice – we promise not to buy health insurance or houses. Above all, thank you for seeing beyond policy and procedures to look out for us. Mr. Alexander, we love you, we’ll miss you, and you are so invited to come to college with each one of us.

Saying goodbye is hard, because there are a group of five or six people that I've gotten to know at Waterford that have, in so many ways, changed my life. And I feel like the boy in the Billy Collins poem offering a lanyard; there's no way I can say thank you enough times.
So, because I'm graduating today and I can do things like this now, here are the lyrics to a song that Mr. Alexander wrote and sang in assembly. They are funny and awesome and a reminder to take care of what's important and let all the other shit fall in the dust. The song is a lot more too, but I don't know how to say more. 

Listen To Your Dean
(to the tune of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong to Me”)

I’m on the phone with Mrs. Heuston and she’s upset.
She’s goin’ off on all the students who forget
To wear their clothing prim and proper like she wants.

I’m on the quad it’s a typical Tuesday morn.
I’m looking at the kind of fashions that get worn.
And I’ll never get compliance like she wants.

‘Cause you wear short skirts, he wears t-shirts,
Swappin’ out shoes depending on the teacher.
I’m dreaming ‘bout the day when you’ll wake up and find
That your upper school dean has bigger fish to fry.

If you could see the policies the way that I do--
One big waste of time, so why can’t you see?
One day you’ll be free; so listen to your dean.

Walkin’ the halls with you in your WOW day jeans,
I can’t help thinkin’ this is how it ought to be.
Laughing under my breath, thinking to myself,
Hey isn’t this easy?

But you’ve got a Starbucks coffee you’re guzzlin’ down
You say you got it from your mom--can’t you see my frown?
Don’t you think I know you better than that?
Hey what ya’ doing off campus like that?

Y’say you’ve got your needs but I’ve got teachers
Making sure deans are following procedures.
I’m dreaming ‘bout the day when I’ll wake up and find
that my days’ll be spent on something more sublime.

If you could see the policies the way that I do--
One big waste of time, so why can’t you see?
One day you’ll be free.

Standing by and watching all your mistakes,
All this time how could you not know, baby?
One day you’ll be free; so listen to your dean.

Oh I remember you comin’ to my door
In the middle of the block;
I’m the one who makes you laugh;
I’m the one who’s there to talk.
And I know your favorite things,
And you tell me all your dreams;
Think I know just what you need
And it’s not a policy!

Can’t you see that I’m the one who understands you?
Been here all along, so why can’t you see?
Listen to your dean.
Standing by and watching all your success;
Understand it’s never just policy.
Take some advice from me, and listen to your dean.

Hey, listen to your dean!
Have you ever thought, just maybe
You’re more than a machine? Listen to your dean.

PS. Graduation henna. A little satirical henna here and there never hurt anyone.

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