2019 Upper School Graduation Speaker — Katrin LaBonne

Good afternoon. Today we celebrate the class of 2019. This is it. The time when 2019 becomes an actual year and end date rather than a name for our class. We’re getting ready to leave each other and enter the next stage of our lives. While sitting down to write this speech, the only word I could think of that accurately describes this class is family. One of the things that makes the class of 2019 so special is how long many of us have been together. Some of us have been here as long as Mr. Fogarty. Our experience here has been a unique one. Not every class speaker can say they’ve watched their peers grow up. High school is an important time for personal growth, yes, but I still remember a time when I was taller than many of the boys in this class. Back then, I never would have pictured myself giving this speech. It’s crazy to think that, after all this time, I’m standing here today speaking to all of you, my family, about our time together.
During this time, we have shared countless memories. We all remember the significance of Rubik’s cubes. We even helped our Kindergarten teacher’s fiancé propose – without us I doubt she would have said yes. We’ve been together through a building change, so many Palios, and even through death. We’re one of the last classes who will remember Ms. Borges’s creative writing assignments and theater productions, going to Patti Goldstein for Band-Aids and a cup of tea, or Mr. White setting us up for success by teaching us how to do a forward roll. We carry with us the spirit of the old school. The old Roycemore. To me, Roycemore will always mean tumbling with Ms. Wunder, staying until after 6 with Ms. Beaugrand, and the excitement of carnival first as a little kid and then as a high schooler putting it together. Because Roycemore isn’t just a building. It’s the people, the atmosphere. For me, Roycemore is this class, who have experienced it with me for all these years.
Over this past year, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my years at Roycemore and how it’s changed me, how it’s changed all of us. Earlier this year, I was passing a group of lower schoolers, and it finally occurred to me that I was the big scary senior that I used to be in awe of when I was 8 years old. How did that happen? I came here as a shy little girl who couldn’t speak up for herself long enough to tell my teacher that I could read, and I’m leaving as what I hope is a mature almost adult who can’t seem to stop talking, or reading for that matter. Roycemore taught me to be independent and self-confident and how to do a cartwheel. And although Roycemore has taught me so much, what I’ve learned from all of you, and really what we’ve learned from each other, is just as important. For better or worse, we’ve all had an impact on one another. We’ve challenged each other’s opinions and beliefs when it comes to topics as simple as milk and Christmas trees to as controversial as gun control and a woman’s right to choose. We’ve grown and we’ve encouraged each other’s growth. Even those of us who haven’t been here since the beginning. Every new addition to our class, our family, has brought new experiences and perspectives. New friends. New arguments – I’m sorry debates.
That’s why family is the best word to describe Roycemore and this class. Through all of our shared memories and experiences, good and bad, we’ve grown up together and love each other like a family. We have our differences, but, at the end of the day, we want what’s best for one another and we want each other to succeed.
I don’t have any parting wisdom to share with you, I believe I’m just as clueless about what comes next, but isn’t that what’s so exciting? We’re facing a blank slate, a Tabula Rasa if you will, and we can make of it what we will. If high school is a time for self-discovery, then college is our chance to discover the world. Discover what is outside of ourselves and this sheltered community. Live on our own in a new city, take classes we’ve never heard of, study all around the globe, and be challenged by more people who disagree with us.
I’d just like to finish by saying thank you to all of our teachers. We truly wouldn’t be here without you. I’d like to thank my family for all their support. Lastly I’d like to thank all of you for helping me to grow, and just for being on this journey with me. Good luck to the class of 2019. Thank you.

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