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Commencement address


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Anyone remember ever hearing or reading a particularly memorable commencement address?

Any insights, advice or thoughts from such an occasion that have stuck with you? Or insights, advice or thoughts you wish someone had thought to share on such an occasion? Any thoughts about what you would say to your younger self (and your peers) if you were in a position to do so? Any really dumb things no one should ever say again?

I've been asked to give a commencement speech. (Betcha didn't see that coming!) Some context: It's a urban Catholic grade school (eighth grade graduation). Most of the students are minorities; many are not Catholic, though of course I can still assume Christianity and Catholicism in my remarks.

Being at a loss for something to say is not, needless to say, one of my many faults. :) Even so, all thoughts, suggestions, comments, cautions, links, etc. are welcome.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Anyone remember ever hearing or reading a particularly memorable commencement address?

Any insights, advice or thoughts from such an occasion that have stuck with you? Or insights, advice or thoughts you wish someone had thought to share on such an occasion? Any thoughts about what you would say to your younger self (and your peers) if you were in a position to do so? Any really dumb things no one should ever say again?

I've been asked to give a commencement speech. (Betcha didn't see that coming!) Some context: It's a urban Catholic grade school (eighth grade graduation). Most of the students are minorities; many are not Catholic, though of course I can still assume Christianity and Catholicism in my remarks.

Being at a loss for something to say is not, needless to say, one of my many faults. :) Even so, all thoughts, suggestions, comments, cautions, links, etc. are welcome.

I absolutely love this commencement address delivered by novelist David Foster Wallace to the assembled graduates of Kenyon College in May, 2005. It's actually worth reading and re-reading. Best of luck, Steven.

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Most of the students are minorities; many are not Catholic, though of course I can still assume Christianity and Catholicism in my remarks.

Heh. My pastor called Suz the other night and briefly mentioned this very point... with a slight twist. When he first mentioned that many of the students and families are non-Catholic, Suz took this to highlight the need for sensitivity. The larger point, though, was that he hoped I was planning to plug the Faith. :)

Anyway, while working on my address I've been reading other addresses online... of which I like best the one Andy linked to above from David Foster Wallace. Of course I'm addressing eighth-grade graduates and mine will be very different, but in teaching seventh-grade catechism over the last ten years or so I've found an oratorial voice and style not entirely unlike Wallace's to be helpful.

On another note, last night a three-day heat wave ended with thunder and hail -- along with a 16-hour power/phone outage that just ended a little while ago. No word-processing last night!

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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FWIW, my address.

(Andy: FWIW, the only definite thing I borrowed from Wallace's address, AFAIK, was a colloquialism... but I had it in mind, along with a few others, the whole time I was writing.)

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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