July 5, 2023

Graduation Speech 2019

The year was 1989. A gallon of gasoline was $.97, a Honda Civic set you back $6,300
and the newest technological gadget was the SONY Walkman. This was the first time
we heard, “You’ve Got Mail” from the mysterious AOL voice and the voice of every
beloved Looney Tunes character was silenced with the passing of Mel Blanc. We all
learned the value of the phrase carpe diem from Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society,
kids everywhere were whispering, “I’m Batman” and the Energizer bunny kept going
and going and going. International relations took a positive turn as the Berlin Wall
came down and Mikhail Gorbachev was named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. The
year was 1989, entrance to Disney World was $29 and Donna Konkolics assumed her
responsibilities as the principal of Maplebrook School.

Maplebrook School has a long and distinguished history, and it is my good fortune to
intersect with that history. We are grateful to have worked with someone as dedicated
to the mission of our school and the success of our students as Miss Konkolics. I know
I have very big shoes to fill…..Graduates, every time you see Mickey Mouse, you will
think of Miss Konkolics and how your educational life has been shaped by her
leadership. In her 30 year tenure, she has crafted Maplebrook into the Magic Kingdom
of learning. So, let’s see what we have learned…..

Graduates, you have learned to be like:
Belle from Beauty and the Beast: Books took you to all kinds of places and on those
journeys, you became stronger readers.
Winnie the Pooh: By having good character, you made friends that you cherish and
can always count on. Continue to be a good friend and value those relationships.
Rapunzel: Despite being scared, you left the security of home to come to Maplebrook.
Because of this adventure, you ended up somewhere you never thought you’d be.

Rafiki, the baboon in The Lion King who tells Simba to keep going, don’t give up no
matter how hard and with a little effort, you can do anything. Your mentors, the faculty/
staff and your parents have encouraged you all along the way.

Pinocchio: If you don’t want your nose to grow, tell the truth…always.
Tigger: Positive energy inspires others. All your speeches will tell us about the fun you
had and how you enjoyed life at Maplebrook. Now, it’s time to bounce into your future.
Dumbo: Your differences are what make you unique. By building your self-esteem,
you were able to celebrate these differences and showed others your value. By
believing in yourself, you are embarking on an exciting future.

Cinderella: Prepare for major transformations. Despite your clock striking midnight
today, you’ve all transformed your pumpkins into beautiful carriages to take you to the
next stop in your life.

Peter Pan: It’s OK to act like a kid sometimes, but it’s important to keep growing,
maturing and learning all you can from life.

Mickey Mouse: Nothing beats a positive attitude and when that happens, your life is
richer for it.

Class of 2019, including Miss Konkolics, if you take nothing else away from this
morning, remember that every good story begins with 4 words. Go forth on this new
adventure in your lives and when someone asks you about your story, begin with those
4 words….Once upon a time…..