2012 Westfield Commencement Address – Nathan Sanchez

Thank you all for coming today to celebrate the graduating class of 2012. It is a privilege to address you as one of the graduates of this class, whom might I say look very classy in their square hats. Did you know that these hats are called mortarboards? Many believe that the mortar board is square because it resembles the shape of an open book; which gives the wearer a more scholarly appearance. You see that class of 2012? At the last possible moment, you learned something. (whisper) It never ends.

As I reflect on my time here at Westfield High School, I think of the friends I’ve made, the life lessons I’ve gained, and I also think of Taco Bell. We’ll get to that last one later. Class of 2012, I stand before you thankful that I have become friends with so many of you. Frolicking in the gym playing mat ball, having fiestas in Spanish class (viente doce), being very, very, very quiet in the library are all memories I will cherish with this class. I’m sure we’ve all had our hearts broken and maybe lost a friend or two; but I know we’re stronger from it and I know we all looked out for each other as a class. We’ve become energized leaders that are ready to leave their mark on the world. We have all learned life lessons that will benefit us as we leave high school. High school is not it for us; it’s just a small dot on our radar screen. High school won’t be the best four years of your life, because if 30 pound literature books and Scantrons are the best four years of your life, then you have done something wrong. Westfield High School has prepared us to take on the challenges ahead with pride and dignity.

It is normally said to a graduating class that the world is ours for the taking but I’m telling you as a friend, just give up. Do you think everything will just be handed to us now? It’s time to buckle up, man up or give up. Because if you are not willing to give everything you have to accomplish what you want, then giving up is the only option. It doesn’t matter how much you think you have to offer, all that matters is that you give it your all. We are going to face difficult situations but we have learned to press on. Take a leap of faith and challenge yourself. It’s okay to step outside your comfort zone. I’m asking you to be different. Do you know how salt looks a lot like sugar? So if I were to mistakenly put salt in my coffee, thinking I was getting sugar, I would be quite surprised. Just like you’re all surprised that Sanchez is trusted enough to be up here giving you life advice at the last possible moment. We look like a bunch of high school graduates, remember our square hats? We look like sugar. So when we go off to college or enter the work force we will look like a bunch of young adults but wouldn’t it be surprising if we were different? If we were the salt? Wouldn’t it be different if people realized we are already leaders? That we are one step ahead of the rest? People will say these guys are different. Where did they come from? Tell them where you came from. I challenge you class of 2012, pursue what you want with great passion, love others and be different.

Now, I believe I promised you Taco Bell. No don’t get too excited I don’t have any with me, but we all can get some after! I’m talking about life advice Taco Bell. You see, Taco Bell is a lot like our experience here at Westfield High School. When we go to Taco Bell we get served by the employees of Taco Bell, “our faculty.” Now the employees of Taco Bell are sometimes taken for granted. I say they’re underpaid, but we know they make the food we love, “our education.” We sometimes wonder, “What is taking so long? I want my burrito “education” now!” But rest assured the employees of Taco Bell are working hard to provide us with the best burrito possible. Now when we get that burrito, it’s up to us to eat it. Now consuming a Taco Bell burrito is no easy task, it takes time and dedication. At times it gets insurmountable and you feel like giving up, “senioritis.” But you press on, because it’s so good! And you finish it, with pride and dignity. You are here before me class of 2012 because of your fine Taco Bell employees and your drive to devour the food they prepared for you! Thank you 2012 for finishing this burrito with me! So when you are at life’s restaurants getting served a full course meal, remember where you came from! You finished a Westfield burrito! So press on and eat! Eat until your dreams come true! 2012!!!