Friends School of Minnesota’s Class of 2012 graduated on June 8. Friends, family and staff gathered together in the gym to celebrate, hearing speeches by each of the 19 graduates.

Friends School of Minnesota alumni joined the 7th & 8th Grade Choir to sing Vem kan segla förutan vind
Friends School of Minnesota alumni joined the 7th & 8th Grade Choir to sing Vem kan segla förutan vind

It is tradition for each graduate to give a speech reflecting on their time at Friends School of Minnesota and what they will take with them. Here are a few excerpts:

“I have really morphed and grown as a person. I’ve been able to find the courage to to speak up more in class and smile and laugh and not be afraid to break the mock-dignity and awkwardness that was my facade. And I love that at a place like Friends School, people know me well enough that I can be comfortable and happy to share what I am interested in, and what I have to say. I think it was the atmosphere of welcome and tolerance at Friends School that helped me find my voice.” – Grace

“Over my six years…I have been learning to scuba dive not to snorkel…Whether it’s math or humanities, we look for the deeper meaning or understanding of the concepts.” – Oscar

“I am brave. Not the kind of brave that stands up in a room of chaos and tells someone how it is, but the kind of brave that stands up in room full of silence with a candle and a question hanging in the air. I was a girl who looked at the ground. Now I look to the sky. I see a sunset.” – Alison

“Friends School and its community, as well as my family and especially my sister, have prepared me for the transition to high school. I know how to build strong relationships, and how to use leadership and learning experiences as opportunities for development.” – Andy

“The strong community also really helped me overcome my fear of speaking up, by not judging anyone, and by helping me understand that my opinion is important. During book group, when I had an idea I wanted to share, I would speak so quietly that no one could hear me, and I would get spoken over. But the people who heard me would push me to keep talking, and tell me they wanted to hear what I was saying.” – Olivia

“When I walk up to this school, I take a deep breath and feel at ease. I feel at home…I feel like I can be myself.” – Lizzy

“When I first came here, I didn’t know how to ask for help when I was confused because I didn’t want to stand out…I started realizing just how invested my teachers were in seeing me succeed. Because they genuinely saw potential in me. They had seen it in me from day one and they didn’t give up on me. They pushed me just enough to make me want to work for it.” – Emma

“Many people have asked me over the years what makes me love the school so much and why I self-describe myself as ‘obsessed with volunteering.’ As I was writing this speech, I finally came to the answer. Besides the fabulous people and fun times, I really feel like it’s my duty as a Friends School student and community member to give back. I believe that a community can’t be successful unless people give back so the cycle can continue.” – Jamie

“I stand up here a transformed woman. Gone is the child who toured here, the girl who didn’t say a word in class, who sat by herself at lunch, who sat on a bench, legs crossed, book in hand. She is gone. In her place is someone I know much better. In her place: me. It was me all along under this stifling veil of silence. How did I emerge? To this, the answer is simple, it was this school who released me, or rather, the people in it. The people who wanted to know me, who would listen to me, who coaxed me into the sunlight. They did not teach me who I was, but rather, to understand myself.” – Ingrid

Friends School of Minnesota Class of 2012

 

“Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.”  – Parker Palmer; Quaker author, educator, and activist