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Ledyard High Scholar’s Address, Lilian Cayangyang

I think it’s safe to say that our high school experience was not quite like the movies. Our classmates didn’t burst into song like they did in High School Musical. Most of us didn’t have a life-changing Saturday with The Breakfast Club in detention. And, very much unlike the movies, our junior and senior year were altered significantly with the occurrence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Perhaps some of us were disappointed that these four years weren’t like the movies. But even though they may have set high expectations that weren’t quite met, these movies still taught us valuable lessons that we can take into the future.

Take The Perks of Being a Wallflower as a perfect example of how beautiful life can be when we open up to the people around us. Charlie was hesitant to open up to his new friends, but once he did, he found himself feeling more “infinite” than ever before. Like Charlie, each of us had the opportunity to go out and seek connections. Everywhere we turned, there was some sort of community where we could immerse ourselves in: the music department, the track team, the Robotics club, our advisory groups, etc. When we opened up to the people around us, we were able to celebrate what we had in common with our peers and what made each of us unique. In the future, we must remember to open up to the people around us, rather than shying away from community, a beautiful aspect of life.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off also teaches us many valuable lessons. One big takeaway is to remember to have fun. I’m not endorsing each person to skip class everyday like Ferris, but I am endorsing for each of you to remember to enjoy life because, as Ferris famously said, “if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” There will be a lot of pressures each of us will face after we leave high school while we try to figure out how to become adults. In the face of new pressures, we must not forget to live loosely. Soak in the colors of the sunset. Hug your parents. Take lots of pictures. Even though we will each be faced with hardships, we must remember to take every day one at a time and make the most of what we have.

Someone who was great at making the most of what she had is Cady from Mean Girls. There is one particular line she said during the Mathletes competition scene that I’ve always held onto: “The limit does not exist!” Though this line applies to calculus, I’ve always looked at it in a broader sense. Much like all of us, Cady has made some mistakes. But the limit for trying to change herself for the better was not bound. I believe that the limit for improvement does not exist. We can always strive to be the best individuals we can possibly be- whether it’s studying for that exam instead of procrastinating, or putting aside social media for a few moments to enjoy the world around us. Remember that the limit for learning does not exist.

Beyond high school, a lot of people cease opening up to their community like Charlie. They forget how to live in the moment like Ferris. They stop learning how to become better individuals like Cady. But like the Wildcats of High School Musical, I believe we can break this status quo. Hardship is inevitable, but with the lessons taught from these movies, perhaps we will feel a little less troubled and remember that “we are all in this together.”

Lilian Cayangyang is the Secretary of the Class of 2021, the student director of Ledyard High School’s nationally recognized Chamber Choir, and an alto section leader. She sings in a number of choral ensembles at LHS and is a member of the National Honor Society. In the fall, she will attend the University of Connecticut within the Academic Center for Exploratory Students Program.

 

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