I have listened to about four hundred senior speeches in my almost seven years as at R.H.P.. Most of them follow a pretty similar structure; tell a story about how you didn't learn at a different school, talk about how welcoming R.H.P. was, then make an inside joke to your friends, and thank your parents for helping you through high school. Although I did find R.H.P. to be inviting when I came here in sixth grade and my parents definitely helped me through high school, in my senior speech I will be giving shoutouts to focus on what will remain with me after I graduate: the relationships I have formed with a few people.
The lowerclassmen who have been told to come listen to my speech - Here’s something I wished someone would have said to me since the first senior speech I listened to back in 2014: the experiences I've had at R.H.P. that I will share in the next five minutes should not matter to you because they are just that; my experiences. Yes, you may go to the same places I did for Outdoor Ed and you may have some of the same teachers I did, but these will likely be insignificant and minute things when you look at the totality of your time here. You will have your own experiences and make memories unique to you. I encourage you to build relationships with each other, giving you something to reflect on for your own senior speeches.
Mr. D - You taught a subject that did not interest many of my middle school peers. However, your ability to form a meaningful connection with every single one of your students, including myself, is why I enjoyed your class far more than any other. Myself and several other seniors enjoyed your history class not because of the content that was taught or even because of the method used to teach it, but because of the man who stood at the front of the room. Your tangents about LEGO, golf, food, fashion, and current events always intrigued me.You are truly a unique teacher who finds a path for connection to every student’s mind. You taught me much more than history and I have enormous respect for you as a teacher and as a gentleman. I encourage you to continue on your tangents and to embrace your gift for teaching.
Coach Clore - You taught myself and my classmates more about kindness than science in the two years we had you as our teacher. Thank you for the sacrifices you made to ensure we learned the content you were teaching us and thank you for your service.
Mr. Hernandez - You made the poor decision of letting Taylor and I sit together in the back of your World History class. Somehow, you passed us. Thank you. I remember your true passion for teaching and history. I value your gift for sharing knowledge immensely and I hope it is being well utilized at your new business venture.
Ms. Balliet - Any student who happens to have you as their English teacher better cherish it. The Class of 2021 misses you like you wouldn’t even understand, but we all appreciate why you chose to leave R.H.P.. I do not exaggerate when I say you were the best school teacher I have ever had. Your ability to listen and let other people’s opinions affect how you think is admirable. You and I rarely agreed on any topic from feminism to politics, but what we shared was a willingness to have our conception of reality challenged. Few high school teachers will entirely change their lesson plan because a single student (me) pointed out that some of the questions you asked were too invasive and personal. You live and teach in a manner that few do, you truly challenge what you believe and care for other people and their beliefs. Thank you for routinely communicating with the Class of 2021 and informing the school’s administrators how we felt about school policies. Not many people would do what you did. I hope you are enjoying your new position in Pasadena. Also, please come to our graduation ceremony on June 11, not just for me, but for all of the students whose hearts you touched.
Dr. T - You have made sacrifices many people are too afraid to make. You left a high-paying chemical engineering job to follow your true passion: teaching. You traded in your Smart Car for a bike to reduce your carbon footprint and, most notably, you left your job at R.H.P. to move back to Argentina to care for your parents. You are an invaluable asset no matter where you travel or where you are employed. You are smart, patient, and most definitely caring.
Ms. Begley - You really know how to party. I’ll never forget our class on the morning after Saint Patrick’s day in eighth grade.
Lindsey Gaudenti - You truly, truly, truly, have a gift for teaching students. Thank you for always being patient with me, making sure I understood the content. I am forever thankful for your commitment to my learning, especially in my application to the University of Oregon.
Ms. Sosa - I appreciate all the time you have given to me to help me learn; time you will never get back. What I appreciate even more is how you always tell me what I need to hear, something that is generally hard to come by.
Mrs. Henderson - I am so honored to see you go from being single, to dating Julian, to getting engaged, married, having Isarah, and now expecting a second child. I feel as though every year you become happier as your family grows and your career processes, and you should. You have been so much more than a test coordinator to me. You have been a transparent, blunt, compassionate, and sympathetic friend since we met and I look forward to seeing your family grow in the near future.
David Park - You were the youngest M.C. in the school’s history and an absolute gentleman. You made Mr. D’s history class even more fun in sixth grade. I trust you have remained true to yourself in the years since.
Syris - I bet you didn't think I would give you a shout out because to tell the truth, we are not that close but this one is for all the times in Mr. Holloway’s English class and Ms. Rudolph’s art class that you made stupid jokes with me and risked being sent to Mr. Flamini. Keep up the good work because you’re funnier than people give you credit for.
Jack - You and I debate daily, in and out of the classroom. You are quiet but easily the most gifted student in this school. I have faith that you will do well in college and beyond. When I say keep in touch, I mean it. Keep in touch.
Gigi - I probably never would have talked to you if it weren't for my homie (your boyfriend) but I’m glad we are friends now. You are truly a kind and smart woman.