A Process of Discovery


Aaditya Rawal delivered his valediction to the class of 2015 on Saturday, May 30.

To our friends and family, faculty and staff, community and lastly the Prairie Ridge High School Class of 2015, welcome to our graduation ceremony. It is my honor to be speaking for such a diverse student body, and everybody present today has played a part in getting the graduating class here. Each of them deserves our thanks and appreciation. Our amazing teachers, who don’t get nearly enough credit for working just as hard as we, preparing us for so much more than just our tests. Our incredible friends, who make sure that we stay sane every day- even if we did stay up ‘til one in the morning watching a Blackhawks game. And finally, our dedicated families, who have dealt with us for about 18 years. My parents say it was difficult. I don’t think it was that bad…

I do have one question for everybody present today- what are you doing here? Or more specifically, why are you here? Let me explain. If psychology has taught me anything, we are more than just our physical bodies. What makes us special is the fact that we have a mind- a mind that is made up of our emotions, our memories, and all of our past experiences. So really, to answer the question, we are here because of everything that’s happened to us in high school. And boy, there’s been a lot that’s happened so far in 720 unique days. Even the first day of this school year, when nothing crazy was supposed to happen, our wonderful fire alarm had different ideas. We’ve dealt with late nights of working for a research paper. We’ve missed school the next day because we didn’t finish that research paper… We’ve wondered “why do I need to learn about capacitors” and felt much better when our teacher told us she feels the same way. We’ve dealt with the entire spectrum of emotions in a single day of musical rehearsal. But not just that, we’ve taken part in amazing accomplishments. We’ve donated enough blood to save hundreds, if not thousands of lives. We’ve given back to the community in countless ways. We’ve had state qualifiers in dozens of different events, multiple individuals placing at state, a state championship in gymnastics, the highest result for math team the school’s ever had- and that’s just this year. All these memories factor into our minds and will stay with us forever. Simply put, we are here because of all these memories and so much more that has happened in this school.

We’ve spent the last four years cultivating, expanding, and opening our minds, but by no means are we done. If high school has taught me anything, it’s that learning doesn’t come from packing facts into our brains; rather, it’s a process of discovery- challenging our minds, searching for answers, and taking in every moment of the journey as we go on. That’s a process that we have to continue in our future, as it will play a large part in determining where we’ll be in the future. Rather than exhausting ourselves on minute details and just looking for the facts of life, take everything in and enjoy life itself.

What today really is for is to reflect on the love of our families, the times with our friends, and our accomplishments over the last four years, but we must still look forward to our future experiences, our new memories, and to all the great things that will come. If life has taught us anything, it’s that we have so much potential and the best is still to come.

Once again, to the Class of 2015, congratulations and good luck on all your future endeavors.