Hi! I’m Senam Adedze, the junior class president. I’d like to start off by thanking all of you for coming and supporting us on this special night. I’d also like to thank Fr. Pat, Mr. Kerns, Ms. Patricia, Senora Joria and our other wonderful class moderators for their unfailing guidance. The junior class officers also deserve accolades for their hard work in organizing this beautiful ceremony. And special thanks to Ms. Blaine, who unfortunately could not be here with us tonight, but has left us with strong words of encouragement. None of this could be achieved without your help, and for that the junior class is very grateful.
A few days ago, just in time for me to write this, I was with a few of my friends who didn’t go to Visitation at party for a family friend. I was wearing my Visitation basketball sweatshirt-- the same one I’m constantly getting dress coded for-- and all of a sudden, a woman I didn’t know came up to me and said, “Visitation? Oh, I went there- what a horrible place.” I didn’t really know how to respond to that, so I just sort of laughed awkwardly and looked to my friends for help. Because they all went to one of our rival schools, they were, of course, no help. We may all have a love/hate relationship with Visitation, like all students do with their own school. But when this stranger came up to me and proceeded to insult the school that I was proudly representing with my sweatshirt, I couldn’t help but feel insulted myself. It’s sort of like having a sibling. You’re allowed to say whatever you like about their flaws and shortcomings, but as soon as someone outside the family tries to say something negative, it’s blasphemy.
After this interaction, I couldn’t stop thinking about what the woman had said about Visitation. I came up with numerous brilliant counter arguments as one does after a conversation you wish you could do over is already finished. I thought about how when people say “hi” in the morning, it’s often followed by a hug or a pat on the back; How someone shared their calm music playlist with me simply because I looked a little stressed. I thought about how when I’m sick, I don’t even have to ask for people to send me notes from the classes I missed because they just do it automatically. I thought about how I cry more from laughter than I do from frustration; How our class is closer now than we’ve ever been before. I thought about how in these almost 3 years that have flown by, I can honestly say that the good outweighs the bad; How amid the workload and due dates, Visitation has given me friends and memories I wouldn’t give up for the world. I can think of a million more reasons why that woman was wrong, and I wish I’d had the chance to tell her. I’m sure we can all agree I definitely would’ve won that argument, right?
When ordering our rings, we all had the opportunity to have quotes or phrases that meant something to us inscribed on our rings. Mine comes from a video I watch whenever I’m at a low point. Naturally, the video is called “Instructions for a Bad Day.” I’d estimate that over the course of junior year I’ve watched it maybe one, two, or twenty times, give or take. The video itself is a typical dramatic montage featuring quintessential shots: a baby smiling, a time lapse of a sunset on the beach, and a close up of someone holding ridiculously long eye contact with the camera as a solitary tear falls slowly down his cheek. To put it simply, it’s nothing we haven’t all seen in some variation before. However, what sets this video apart from others is the poem the narrator reads while it plays. The inscription I chose for my ring comes from this poem, and it simply says, “Look again.” It’s a small, but poignant part that requires a bit of explanation. The full line reads-- “In the unlikely event that you have no one, look again.” Now, I could go on forever about the merits of the spoken word and poetry in general, and read the whole 5 minute poem aloud for you all, but for those of you who give me incredulous looks when I say things like “I love poetry,” I’ll spare you the details.
“In the unlikely event that you have no one, look again.”
That’s what I will be reminded of every time I put on and take off my class ring. Following that will be a prayer that I don’t lose it like every other piece of jewelry I’ve owned, but the important part is the former. Like I’ve said many times before, Visi is a great place to make lifelong friends. Visitation gives you sisters that will never leave your side, whatever trials come your way. Believe it or not, we’re almost finished with our junior year. The next school year will be our last at Visitation, and the year after that will be our first at dare I say it, the dreaded “c” word: college.
St. Francis de Sales says, “Friendships begun in this world will be taken up again, never to be broken off.” The teenage view of “this world” is high school while the next is college - because as I’m sure our parents are painfully aware, there’s no such thing as “the big picture” for teenagers. The friendships made here will last a lifetime.
Not too long from now, we’ll be going off to our own respective colleges. We may know many people there, or we may not know anybody. It could possibly be lonely for a little while. We wear these rings as a symbol to remind us that we have a home here, one we can always turn to in times of need. Visitation isn’t the sort of place you can just leave and never look back. Our rings will remind us that we are not alone, and if we ever feel that way, all we have to do is “look again.”