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Ledyard High's Class President’s Address by Evelyn Morrison

I am very excited to stand before you all this evening and present a speech for you. Well, technically I didn't have a choice in the matter but that is beside the point. And I also have a deadly fear of public speaking, which I understand makes zero sense if you know anything about me. I have also rewritten this essay about 57 times, so you know that what lies ahead will either be the greatest speech of all time, or a collection of Evelyn’s late night thoughts. Either way, I am proud to be able to represent the class of 2021, the first class in history that can most definitely survive a zombie apocalypse after the year we’ve had.

Now you might think that it’s a bit drastic of me to say that, but I promise you that I mean it when I say that before you stand the strongest people I’ve ever encountered in my life. I know a lot of them might not know it yet, but every single person out here today is resilient, courageous, and experienced. Don’t get me wrong though, some of them do know it, and they definitely have a survival bag packed away in their closet already.

But I have taken a lot away from this class. Some of you are my closest friends, my lab partners, my fellow choir members, my late night study buddies, my Jeopardy teammates, my ultimate frisbee opponents, the list goes on. And some of you are people who always demonstrate kindness, who smile at me in the hallways when I walk by, who show up and volunteer, who share their school spirit at the pep rallies, who are role models to the other grades, who are kind to the teachers and staff, who represent everything it is to be a member of the class of 2021. Even if we’ve never even spoken one word to each other, I still can say without a doubt that our class as a whole has taught me so much.

I’m glad it was us that got put through this mess of a year, because I know for a fact that no one else could have handled it as well as we did. We had every right to be angry and upset, to complain, to yell and scream, to cry. But we still showed up every day, and we were present. We were present when everything in us told us to just stay home, or to just log off. We remained despite everything that was taken away from us because deep down we knew one day it would all be worth it. Today is that day. We are here, together again, on this field, in front of proud faces, to show that despite every challenge that was thrown at us, we still made it to the end. Despite cancellations, quarantines, virtual tests, College Board, masks, glitchy Google meets, the phrase “unprecedented times”, we are here.

And this isn’t good-bye. This isn’t the end. But this also isn’t the beginning. If life were a book, we are just at the end of a really good chapter, but there’s still so much more to read. So look back on the chapters you’ve lived, and be proud that you’ve made it this far. But look ahead with curiosity and excitement because there’s still so much left! If you see me tonight, don’t think of this as a good-bye, but rather the next step into our futures. Some of us will be taking that next step hand in hand with our childhood best friends, some of us will be moving across the country to pursue our dreams, and some of us are still figuring this whole life thing out. Whatever it is you may do and wherever it is you may end up, I just ask for one favor. Take a moment to soak this all in, look around at your classmates and friends, and make this moment last. It’s the last time we will all be together as Colonels, and after tonight, our new chapter begins.

Evelyn Morrison is the Senior Class President, the Recording Secretary of National Honor Society, and the Vice President of Key Club. A standout member of Ledyard High School’s choral and theater programs, Evelyn will be attending Furman University in the fall to study music education with a concentration in choral music.

 

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