Nick Weinel’s Graduation Speech
Class of 2014

by Lancer Media Staff

Nicholas Weinel, Class of 2014, was the selected student speaker at Graduation 2014


Thank you everyone, it is truly an honor to be standing here tonight speaking to the class of 2014. I’d like to start off on a more lighthearted note, with a song our class knows well.

“Bye, bye, Linganore High. You’re the best high school off 75.”

Luke Hubbard sang this line at this year’s Mr. Linganore Competiton. It has a simple message, and one we can all relate to: Linganore is going to be missed. I had the pleasure of competing in Mr. Linganore with 14 other guys, some of whom I would not have met without the competition, and it made me realize how we are all one tribe. One family. One school. Luke didn’t win the competition, but he did provide a clear example of how the class of 2014 does not play any games when it comes to school spirit.

Over the last four years, I’ve seen my classmates participate in spirit days ranging from good old America day, to dress up like a grandparent day. Not to mention those days when we’d cram ourselves into a gym and scream our heads off for a wooden stick loosely covered in tissue paper and call that school spirit. We’ve drawn hill paintings, pulled tissues out of the box with our mouths at a disturbing rate, and even twerked it out over some aluminum cans on the floor for school spirit.

In today’s world, we need a little spirit, so my first message to you today is simple: never let that spirit go. Your passion and enthusiasm for following what you love is every bit as important as what you know. Never forget those lessons that you learned with these other 397 students sitting to your left, to your right, in front of you and behind you. Some of those lessons were taught by your teachers, but not just any teachers, teachers that were voted the best county of teachers in Maryland, the state with the best teachers. Yes, Mr. Coblentz might have given you a first hand account of U.S history, and Mr. Tringali might have brightened each of your days with his puns , but the most important lessons learned were those that you taught yourselves.
I am not exaggerating when I say that every member of this class has the potential to be great, so do not let your greatest enemy live between your ears! The greatest victories in life come from accomplishing what you have been told you cannot do. I think of Michael Jordan being cut from his high school basketball team, or of Thomas Edison failing to create a lightbulb over 1,000 times. We need to have the optimism that Edison had when he said “I have not failed… I have found 1,000 ways not to make a lightbulb.”

It’s such a pity that people dream great dreams, only to turn away in sadness when faced with their first obstacle. What does a vine do when it is met with a wall? Does it shrivel up and die? No. It does not let any obstacle stand in the way of progress. Your attitude should be no different than the vine, and that brings me to my second message for you: Do not ever let anybody tell you what is right for you.

Poet Marianne Williamson reminds us that, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous? Actually, who are you not to be?” Come next year, the harsh reality is nobody is going to baby you, nobody’s going to make excuses for what you do late, and nobody is going to have abundant sympathy for you. You may be subject to peer pressure, to be asked to conform to what’s around you, and you may sit and wonder what it takes to be happy. My suggestion to you is, as captains of your fate, it’s your duty to yourself to set your own course for happiness.
As our time together as classmates comes to a close, we all turn our eyes toward the future. The future is scary, uncertain and full of fear, that is for certain. But just like countless scary movies have made their names by the suspense of the unknown, our own brains fill up the empty spaces ahead with creatures and fears that are nonexistant. My closing message to you all is instead of worrying about what the future may bring, take what you have in stride.

Poet Patrick Overton once said, “When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.” I don’t know about any of you out there, but I’ve always wanted to fly. I’m not afraid at all, because if I do fall, I know I have the greatest support system anyone could ever have in the Linganore communtiy, in my family, in my friends, and in our senior class. We are a class of winners, and the class of the future. As we move forward with our lives, wherever they may take us, think back to this year, and to this night and remember how we are one tribe. One family. One school. Thank you.