My daughter's 8th grade graduation speech:
I have been at Mead for twelve years. In that time, I have seen many new students become a part of Mead. It’s always somewhat similar — an apprehensive child becomes a valuable part of the Mead community. Through this transition, they also become something more – they become Meadies. There is no official definition of what a Meadie is. It’s not in the school handbook. What it means to be a Meadie is something that every Mead student must define for themselves. There is no “normal” process of becoming a Meadie. It is unique every time. In a way, it’s a self-fulfilling quest: once you decide what the term means to you, you’re already more than halfway to becoming one. I know all of my classmates and I are Meadies; all different, yet the same. We are all Meadies and always will be.
Once one becomes a Meadie, there is no going back. When students graduate, they do not cease to be Meadies. They carry the values and skills of Mead with them as they move into the world outside of Mead. These people are no less Meadies because of their absence from the building. The connection to this place, this concept, does not dwindle with time. If anything, it grows stronger. I have watched others stand on this stage as they graduate and, as they give their speeches, I hear the unuttered words – I will remember Mead, and take it with me, wherever I may go. I have heard these words today, as I watch my friends step up and speak. I have heard these words, and I remember Mead.
I remember when my friends and I created the Plum Tree Restaurant out of a large purple sand bucket. I remember Primary Play – Junky Funk with its seeds and Coyote Smelly Sock Rocks. I remember the Hurricane Katrina bake sale, and those that followed. I remember Multiplication Wormies, and the poetry writing. I remember when some friends left, and when others came. I remember Mead, and I ask all who are leaving to do the same. Our memories of mead are how we will bring it with us — after all, a person is, in a way, the sum of their past experiences. Mead exists, not only in this building, but in all of those that have experienced it.
It exists in the alumni who befriend their new teachers; in the joy of learning of a student who once was here; in the warm manner of a teacher who was a part of this place; in the way a parent teaches their child’s younger siblings to live a personally meaningful life, even though they never attended Mead. We are all a part of Mead, and mead is a part of us all. We are Mead.