Prefect Reflection – Caroline Zummach
It was a Tuesday afternoon in October. This senior class was about to go on our senior trip to the bunkhouse. I was apprehensive about the night and what it might bring when a friend noticed my lack of enthusiasm and reminded me of something extremely important, “I would never have an opportunity like this to be with this exact group of people ever again. That was it.” And from that moment on, I was convinced that my final year at St. George’s would not be spent sitting at home or staying within my comfort zone that I had been in since sixth grade, but, instead, enjoying my time. …And man, did I enjoy my time.
I enjoyed my time because of the very people sitting in front of me right now. I am thankful for that friend that sensed my worry that Tuesday and to all those who have since encouraged me during my time here. I am grateful for those who stood by me even when I thought oversized flare jeans and pink wallabees were the hottest fashion. I am thankful that no silly band trade gone-wrong could tear my friends away even though I thought I might lose Kirby a few times over that fashion trend. But most of all, I am so thankful that I have gotten to grow up and experience 14 years of memories with each and every one of you, and I do not say that lightly. Yes, believe me, each of you has had an impact on my life and the St. George’s community.
If there is one thing that I would say sets the class of 2018 apart is our spirit and love for one another. Our class has always had a reputation among teachers of being a bit more of a “rowdy” grade, but all this meant was that the class of 2018 knew how to laugh and live life to the fullest. This class is full of kind and joyful people who are always there to lend a helping hand, and it was inspiring to watch all of us step into our roles as leaders of the school this year, and I believe that we led in a way that was unique.
We all worked hard with a smile on our faces, a laugh in our lungs, and love in our hearts as we truly embraced our slogan of “Taking flight.”
We knew how to laugh at our own craziness, whether that was with a mini cooper or constantly having to be settled down by Mr. Densford as we screamed until we lost our voices cheering on our friends on the court or field.
We learned how to smile our way through SIS support and college application deadlines together. We were there for our friends who got that denial letter and celebrated with everyone as we chose where our next home away from St. George’s would be.
And we learned how to come together as one. We truly showed up and showed out for our peers inside and outside the classroom. This year I’ve seen this class come together, as friend groups broke down their barriers and reached out to people they may not have spoken more than 10 words to since they sat next to each other in Silent Sustained Reading.
We were fortunate enough to attend this place whether that was for 15 years or just one. We have been taught how to be caring, intelligent, and creative men and women. We have learned from teachers who spent their time day in and day out helping us be the best students and people we can be. We have been led by coaches and directors who encouraged us to be ourselves.
In your years to come, always be yourself because that person built their character and knowledge at St. George’s. So, do not let what you have learned at this place and from these leaders grow stagnant in your heart. We are strong and intelligent human beings, and do not let anyone ever tell you otherwise.
While it feels like the end now, this is just a chapter of our stories. Our stories will be different than anyone else’s in college because we grew up at St. George’s. We grew up learning how to care for people and treating them with respect. We grew up knowing how to face challenges head on. The class of 2018 knows how to face difficulty with a smile and a fortitude that has been cultivated in us since we arrived at St. George’s. I encourage you all to write your story with color on every page, a laugh in every memory, and love for those around you.
So here we are. The tent is pitched. Tomorrow is May 19th, 2018. It is time to take flight again, but now away from the nest that we know at St. George’s and begin writing that next chapter of our book. For some of you tomorrow is the day you’ve been waiting for, but for a lot of you, like me, tomorrow is a day that feels like the ending of one of the greatest chapters of our lives. The day that we will step down from that stage and officially end our time at St. George’s. And while it may feel like we are leaving St. George’s, St. George’s will never leave us. Yes, there won’t be anymore Friday night fourth quarter roller coasters, x-blocks on the senior deck, nights at the bunkhouse, Proms, or advisory snacks. But the memories and the people we met here have shaped us and prepared us for our futures ahead. You will look back as you have just been dropped off by your parents at your new home away from home, and you will remember all the little things. Even when you didn’t realize it, the conversations you had with your friends driving back from lunch or walking across the boardwalk and the innumerable number of frisbees you have thrown with the underclassmen have made you who you are.
Those little moments are the ones we will miss most of all. Hold on to those little things. Hold onto the person who always made sure to hold the door or tell you good morning. And now, YOU be that person in your days to come. Model your life after the person that always treated you with kindness while at St. George’s because I am sure there were plenty of them.
So it’s time to go our separate ways, but we will always have this place and this family to connect us together. When you are at college next year and repping your powder blue or big orange, always stay true to your cardinal and gold. As you’re cheering on the bulldogs or the tigers, remember once a gryphon, always a gryphon. And when you are in the student union or at a tailgate and you begin to hear the violins and beloved Wagon Wheel lyrics “Headed down south to the land of the pines,” remember the Friday nights and the people sitting next to you right now.
Thank you for our time together over the years, and here’s to a new beginning. Thank you.
Senior Reflection–Sid Martin
Good evening parents, faculty, friends, and St. George’s students. I cannot believe this weekend has actually arrived, but here we are. With the relentless support of our family, teachers, and peers, we made it. It’s our time.
On behalf of the entire class I want to thank the faculty for being the inspiring, supportive, and passionate people they are because that drive is contagious and has certainly infected our class over the past four years. I also want to thank the parents and family members of the class of 2018; your love and support has been the foundation of our success and will continue to be for the rest of our lives. That encouragement is indispensable and it is the reason we are all here right now.
I was nervous as I began my journey at St. George’s in fifth grade. New school, new students, new atmosphere. I was scared that I wouldn’t fit in with others because I would be labeled as “the new kid.” But after a while, I made friends during football and attending “Aftercare” after school. The class of 2018 had graciously opened their arms to me as if I had been there since pre-k. Throughout the year, we got to enjoy activities like Fun Food Friday in Mrs. Pettits class and Menu day in Mrs. Mac’s class. Also, we went on exciting field trips like the adventurous Cave Trip and Biztown, where we worked at companies like First Tennessee Bank, Chick-Fil-A, and many more as we got a taste of what it’s like to have responsibility. As we prepared for crossing, we were sad about leaving our former home but glad to embark on the next chapter in our lives.
New people. Old people. New teachers. New campus. New atmosphere. Arriving at the Collierville Campus just felt new. Along with this new feeling, came new opportunities. New sports like tennis and swimming along with new clubs like Forensics enlightened our young minds as we began to discover new talents within ourselves. I soon discovered that Forensics, however, was not one of my talents. In the 7th grade, I joined the club because … why not? Seems fun, everyone in assembly gets medals for it, so it shouldn’t be that hard. Boy …. I was wrong. There are multiple categories that you can participate, I chose Duo Acting with Ben Sawyers. Together, we transformed into Abbott and Costello as Ben kept wondering Who’s on First. NO MATTER WHAT WE TRIED, we always got last. “Emphasize on these words” Mrs. Berry would say, “Make hand gestures”, Mrs. Berry would say. Nothing worked. But there was this time where there were only two groups in a St. Frances Tournament. So we had a one in two chance of getting first place. After our best performance with “emphasizing certain words and making hand gestures”, we got last, even though we just tell people that we got second.
High School is a place where you discover your inner-self. With more students, new clubs, and new types of classes every year, we found our gifts that will help us create a path for our future. Through these classes, we can become the next journalists, historians, engineers, entrepreneurs, artists, or anything we put our mind to. That’s what distinguishes our class from others. Our dedication for learning is unrivaled as we continue to reach to new heights.
Earlier this year, I learned an African proverb, Ubuntu, meaning “I am who I am because of who you are.” To the class of 2018, I want to thank you for all you’ve done for me. You have given me a home, made memories I can laugh and cry at for the rest of my life, and you have taught me to always follow my heart. You all are courageous, smart, and loving individuals. I will miss you all so much. Home is where the heart is and I hope St. Georges will always be in your hearts. Lastly, I learned the Serial Position Effect, where when given a list of objects, you normally remember the first thing and the last thing. When arriving to St. George’s in 5th Grade for Convocation, I was greeted with a cordial smile and “Welcome to St. George’s” and as we end our journey, we will be saying “Oh, St. George’s, we won’t forget you.”
[Both of these talks were written for an audience present to hear them more than for a reading audience. With that in mind, please excuse any editing errors. JRP]