Four Years at Fairmont"
Dave Gustafson, 1998
Kettering Schools for thirteen years now, and I’ve
witnessed you, my classmates, in quite a variety
of clothing - football jerseys, cheerleading outfits, and
- during spirit week - football players wearing
cheerleading outfits. But now,
we’ve all come together for the last time as a class,
sporting gowns and mortarboards
for graduation. Remember how many times we’ve daydreamed
about this moment in the middle of
class? We sometimes drift off during lectures, fantasizing
about how we would spend our days if life were an
eternal summer weekend… and that’s usually when the
teacher brings us back to reality with an authoritative
- ahem - clearing of the
throat accompanied by a smug inquiry about the electron
configurations of the noble gasses.
Thanks, Mr. McManus. Well, everyone, this daydream is just
now becoming a new and fascinating reality.
But before we shred, burn, and flush our swipe-in cards
down the toilet - don’t laugh, I know you’ll do
it too - we should remember what
we’re actually leaving behind.
It’s true that throughout our collective education
experience, we’ve been worked like dogs with
assignments, made busy as
bees with extracurriculars, and packed like sardines in
the hallways. But aside from the occasional tediousness
of everyday life at the Fairmont Zoo, we’ve had a pretty
good time. For most of us, high school hasn’t
been lived in seven periods a day - it’s been the time
spent after the halls have cleared and bells no longer
cut our days into fifty-minute
intervals. Time spent with teachers, coaches, and other
students, building an athletic team
or a music program out of sheer pride for our school. I
remember officer meetings for the marching band that
began with the ring of the 3:15 bell and could sometimes
last until past 10 o’clock at night. Afterwards, the
officers would perhaps split a few
pizzas and a great bit of lively conversation. Each night
after our eyelids grew heavy
and the banter settled to a sleepy murmur, I arrived and
collapsed at home, exhausted from a day of work well
done and time well spent. Was my homework done that night?
Far be it from me to trivialize the importance of
academics in high school, but I’m quite sure that
that’s not what I remember.
Much like these late-night band meetings, what we’ve
accomplished over our brief years at Fairmont cannot all
be measured by a grade point
average, it cannot be entirely conveyed with a transcript,
and it cannot be summarized
in a diploma - career passport or not. For in addition to
our quality education from the classroom,we’ve received
an education in life from each other. Solid, irreplaceable
friendships with our peers and, yes, even with our
teachers and coaches have been forged through hard work,
devotion, good times and bad, and most
importantly, pride for a school that we should all be
grateful to call our alma mater.
We may be receiving diplomas tonight, fellow classmates,
but look around you at your teachers, coaches and
friends, and realize what you’ve truly earned for four
years at Fairmont.