Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Collection of Commencement Speeches

Today was my first official day of summer after all of the end of year events with kids--from the annual field trip to Hershey Park with my 5th graders to the final 5th grade promotion speeches as they gear up to move ahead to the middle school.  We had our days of meetings to wrap up and time set aside to pack up. Moving from one classroom to another, I did a lot of overhauling of things hidden away in closet boxes where they had lived a long time.  So files are now tidy, the closet is ready for its new recipient, and my new space is now ready for me to return in the fall.  We finished up with the end of year faculty luncheon where everyone celebrated accomplishments then bid adieu for the summer.

In this season of wrapping up, it becomes exhausting and overwhelming at times, but it brings about a good sense of closure and accomplishment. Like tying up the year, a package with a bow. 

In this season of speeches, I wrote one of my own to serve as inspiration to my students that we all had something to say, here at the end of the year.  As my students delivered their speeches on that last day of school, I found myself grinning to such a degree that by the end, my cheeks hurt from smiling! 

Given all of that, I think I've become more aware of all the viral commencement speeches that swirl about on social media.  I've found myself collecting them, much like someone would collect precious stones, commemorative stamps, or beautiful shells.  I've already shared Matt Damon's 2016 speech he delivered at MIT.  Here are my 3 other favorites this season.  May they fill you with wisdom, and may they make you think!

Historian & Documentarian Ken Burns:

Harvard's Dean James Ryan:

Mike Rowe's Practical Advice
(a different slant than the typical commencement speech!):

Pictures from my promotion &, Videos from,, and

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