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Eighth Grade Graduation Speech

Middle School Tuesday, 07 Jun 2022

Eigth-graders Robi I. and Eva-Rae R. gave the commencement speech at the 8th grade bridging ceremony

Robi I.

Good afternoon parents, faculty, friends of Roycemore, and my fellow graduates. We are here to celebrate these eighteen individuals for graduating middle school and moving on to high school. We, as the eighth-grade class, would like to welcome you to our graduation ceremony. Thank you for being here today. 

We have been through a lot

  • we’ve witnessed pandemics, 
  • disaster field trips, which I’ll tell you more about later, 
  • cold and torrential walking tours and so much more. no matter the circumstances, we’ve always stuck together. 

Our class is the first class in Roycemore history to be at our current building, right here at 1200 Davis Street, for our entire time at Roycemore. When we were younger, we always heard stories about the old building. But for us, this is our home. Well, other than March of 2020, when we were stuck Zooming into school from our literal homes. 

During lockdown, we heard that many grades were skipping homeroom. NOT US! Our class would always stay as long as we could and play digital Jackbox games or participate in virtual breakout rooms. We all would find a way to escape the stress with each other while playing games like Quiplash, Murder Mystery, and Among Us. We would stay on zoom for hours after school just playing those silly games, but it was fun because we loved being together online while we couldn’t see each other in person.

Even before COVID, our class made lots of memories together. From our Wax Museums in third grade to building Springfield out of pretzels in 4th grade, (and the school power going out in the middle of it!) to Seat Voucher scandals. (Made by Jacob and sold for high prices in seventh-grade) to having our humor regress. A LOT. 

Our connection with each other is strong, whether being a Roycemore Veteran or whether you joined us this year for eighth grade.

In fifth grade, we had our Indiana Dunes OVERNIGHT field trip (on my birthday). That was fascinating, in a terrible way. Since it was the first year of Middle School at Roycemore, we had no idea middle schoolers took field trips so often or so far, or for so long. So we were naturally pretty excited (and a little bit scared) since we’d never been on an overnight trip in Middle School. 

As soon as we got to the campsite, we realized the mosquitos had all hatched at once. There were TRILLIONS (and I do mean trillions) of mosquitos. I remember Aidan had a 99% Deet bug spray that still didn’t work. I also heard stories about mosquitos getting trapped in cabins. It was very fun and cool, and we had a great time. 10 out of 10, would get stung again. Thankfully, the next year, we had a less buggy overnight trip to camp Henry Horner before COVID hit. 

We didn’t travel again until last week. As you may or may not be aware, most of us just returned from our New York trip which was epic, sleepless, mind-blowing, eventful, hot, wet, cold, and so much more.

Eva-Rae R.

Roscoe, Jackie, Iris, Ava, Nathan D, Matthew, Sophia, Sammy, Nathan K, Finley, Calvin, Rachel, Theo, Jessie, Jacob, Gabe, Robi, and myself, are all important symbols of this class. We are all smart and talented in many unique ways. Without each of us, this class wouldn’t be how welcoming it is today.

This may seem like the end of an adventure to many people, but I see it as crossing a bridge and going onward with the adventure. There is still so much to look forward to. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Although it may be a bit nerve-wracking at the start, I know that this class can conquer the challenges that come our way. Even though we may be going our separate ways, I believe that we will always remember the Roycemore community.

WOW, we are really growing up. We are becoming the high schoolers that we were once afraid of. I find myself saying “we are becoming”, but we are and will always seek to be the generation that will accept those for who they are, and that is because of what Roycemore has taught us. Whether it’s the stressful tests, the annoying annotating, the random heavy loads of homework, or the social challenges, all of these things will help us navigate our way through high school.

Although the students are what shape the 8th grade, the TEACHERS are the ones who really help us stay together. They somehow manage to have relationships with each and every one of us, (even when we aren’t getting along with each other). When things get off track, they SUPPORT us to get moving again.

To all of the lovely teachers here supporting us today, thank you. You have taught us so much, and not just about math, fine arts, science, or humanities. You have helped us with so many challenges, but I know what has stood out to every student here today is that you have made us all feel safe. Not only physically safe but also safe in our own skin in a classroom environment. That is not easy. You accept us for who we are and help us to accept each other. Thank you, Ms. Erb, Mr. Mahlan, Mr. Stanley, Ms. Milner, Ms. St. Amand, Ms. Leavitt, Ms. Sommers, Ms. Carson, Ms. Negronida, Ms. Hecht, Ms. CT, Ms. Wilson, Coach B., Coach Fawbush, Ms. Wunder, Mr. Tain, Ms. Floro and Ms. Finley Odell for accepting us for who we are.

There are two teachers in particular who Robi and I would love to especially acknowledge. Ms. Milner and Ms. Wilson, you two taught us how to do this. I love how OPEN you two have been. Thank you both for being honest about what needs work and what doesn’t. You are AWESOME teachers. You have both not only made me and Robi succeed but also, all the students you’ve taught over the years.

We would like to say a very special thank you to the FRIENDS and FAMILY here today to support all of these incredible graduates. You are the ones who have been through it all. Our parents and guardians have helped us through all the rough bumps in the road. Thank you.

I know that everyone here has people to thank for almost everything, and for me, that is my family, more specifically, my parents. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for guiding me through these past 14 years. You have both ALWAYS helped to inspire me to get out there and just do it. All the confidence I have gained has not only been from my own strength but from watching you.

Mom, you are my Lorelei Gilmore. You have been there for ALL OF IT. The random shopping trips, going out for lunch whenever we’re bored, binge-watching every rom-com out there, and all the nights where friend drama needed a mom for comfort, have all shaped our relationship and how much I look up to you. I don’t think you realize that when anyone asks me who I want to be when I grow up, it will always and forever be you.

Dad, thank you. Thank you for helping me study for every test I would be nervous about yet still do great on. Thank you for the car rides in which we blast the best songs ever, while not caring about what anyone in Wilmette thinks about us. Thank you for teaching me to be my true and authentic self. And last but not least, thank you for forcing me to help you pick out all the gifts for Mom.

I could never forget about my little brother Lorenzo who just finished his first year in middle school. I will always remember when we were little talking about the future, and you said, “One day we can drive anywhere we want together, you just need to actually learn how to drive already, Eva-Rae!” Soon that dream will come true. Time sure does go by fast.

I would also like to appreciate my Omi, Opi, Aunt Wally, Uncle Kevin, and my amazing cousins. I value my relationship with my family so much. I encourage all the graduates here tonight to go home and take the time to give their families a hug for all the things they’ve done for you, because I know without our family’s support we wouldn’t be on this stage today.

To my peers, I wish you all the best in high school. Although we will all miss middle school A LOT, I am very excited to see where life takes us in the future. Thank you, Roycemore, for all you’ve taught me since kindergarten.  

And to conclude with the wise words of Jackson Browne, “Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor.”  

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