Editor's note: The following is a graduation speech delivered by graduating Worthington High School seniors Stephanie Bauman and Nedoh Gyi during the May 28 WHS commencement ceremony.
Good evening parents, relatives, administration, friends and the reason you all sit here tonight — the class of 2021. My name is Stephanie Bauman, and standing next to me and co speaking is Nedoh Gyi. It comes with great honor to be standing here speaking on the behalf of my fellow classmates about the great joy we are feeling today.
First and foremost, to the class of 2021: We did it. The long painful, dreadful and unexpected year is behind us. Some of us didn’t expect to be here, but here you are, sitting next to the kid who picked their nose in second grade and who is now anxiously waiting to graduate and get out of here.
This year was no fairytale by any means, but once upon a time we did enjoy sleeping through history class, flicking vegetables through the lunchroom, taking a math test on paper, lighting things on fire in science and seeing our friends’ smiling faces without a mask on.
We didn’t have a dashing Prince Charming come save us from this pandemic, but instead we became the heroes ourselves and pulled through the chaos.
The early morning awkward silence in the Zoom meeting was to die for. Oh, the dreadful noises we made when we were forced to turn on our cameras while looking like a hairy big bad wolf under our blankets.
Instead of walking through the woods to Grandma's house, we walked through our house to find ourselves in the kitchen for our third lunch of the day at 1 p.m.
We never had to worry about losing our shoes or being home before midnight, but instead the chores slowly piled up and the homework dramatically stacked up. But we knew we would graduate—somehow.
Being Rapunzel is not easy; unable to get a fresh cut, our hair grew and grew and grew. Some of us became beasts and refused to look in a mirror. Being locked up as the clock slowly went tick-tock each day — we had all the time in the world, but still the chores and homework were left untouched.
When it was time to come back to Wonderland, we had to find the motivation to stay engaged through the lectures. We experienced Goldilocks’ discomfort to try to find comfort in a hard, cold, chair.
Our story this year had a twist that no one saw coming. We went down the dark woods and caught a bad case of senioritis and barely made it out.
Whatever the reason you chose to come back, I’m glad you stayed with us to the very end. Yes, this year was unexpected, and we didn’t get to fight dragons or go to Rome, but we can now tell our kids our own little fairytale.
Our story doesn’t end with us walking across this very stage to get your high school diploma. We didn’t get this far to only get this far — or else Hansel and Gretel wouldn’t have escaped the witch, or Jack wouldn’t have proved to his mom that trading a cow for a bean was worth the hassle.
As you hold your achievement in your hands, you now will be opening up the next chapter of your life. Each one of our next chapters won’t be roaming the halls of WHS, but instead creating our own futures.
We are the writers, the main characters and the heroes of our own story. Every mistake and decision we make will lead us down a path to our happily ever after. Keep your story alive, and be the legend you are.
As the Grimm brothers would say, ladies and gentlemen, “they all lived happily ever after." Congratulations, class of 2021. We did it!