Today my baby sister, Rebecca Noel Thublin, graduated from Tattnall Square Academy. My mom now officially has two alumni and only one high schooler left. I've been the most obnoxious older sister ever since I found out Becky was her class' Valedictorian. For the past week almost every facebook status I've updated has been about her. When she gave her speech tonight, I just sat there and balled my eyes out. As my mascara ran down my face, I just couldn't help but be proud of her and all her accomplishments! Really, there isn't much left to say, her words were so elegant and quite true to her class. Seriously, I couldn't have said it better myself. So, to sum up the evening, I'm posting her Valedictorian Speech. Please enjoy her lovely words; I know I did:
Hello fellow classmates, faculty and staff of Tattnall Square Academy, and friends and family of the graduating class of 2011. I was given the privilege to address you all today as the valedictorian of our class. First of all, I would like to show my gratitude to a few people. I want to thank the faculty and staff of Tattnall Square Academy for putting up with our class all these years and really pushing us to do greater things with our lives. Some of you have inspired us to pursue certain professions while others have helped us realize that maybe math isn’t our best subject, thank you Mrs. Smothers. Tattnall has given us all so many amazing opportunities that we might not have had if we went to a different school. For example, on May 4th when we were give our awards for participating in a variety of extracurricular activities offered by Tattnall, almost every single student in this class was recognized. Tattnall has so many sports and clubs that we have gotten involved in and has luckily refused to make some cuts other schools have made. Tattnall sees the importance of classes like the fine arts and not only offers them, but requires at least 1 fine art class before we can graduate. Some might think this is pointless, but Tattnall has proof that the fine arts affect more than just creative abilities considering the past three valedictorians have been in the marching band and each took 8 years of fine art classes in middle and high school. For all the amazing opportunities you have given us, I thank you Tattnall and the people that work here. I would also like to thank our families. Without you, we could not be here. Y’all have not only provided for us financially these past 18 or so years, but y’all have our emotional rocks. Moms, y’all have been there to baby us when we needed it and made us stand up and take ownership for our mistakes even if we did not want to. Dads, y’all have been the source of constant support and made us stronger through the lessons you have taught us. Siblings, even if we fight all the time, y’all have been there to help us through anything no matter what because we know we love each other even through all the slaps and punches. Grandparents, thank you for spoiling us like no others can and never getting mad at us. Family and friends that might as well be family, thank you for putting us when you could have walked away at any time. So thank you families of this graduating class, for being there no matter what because we know that at the end of the day, we will always have y’all through every struggle throughout our lives and mistakes we will assuredly make.
Since elementary school, we have been known as a bad class. At Wasega, we weren’t allowed to slow dance; in Washington, we went out and hopped across the forbidden balconies; in Florida, we and got kicked out of Ripley’s Believe it or Not; and most recently, we took a fun Tattnall tradition and made it into a night filled with regret. This is how some people might remember us. We all know that some of the teachers had mixed emotions when we ran the halls for the last time, and most of the underclassmen were just worried about what privileges they could lose because of us. We might be remember as that class of 2011.
However, this is not how I choose to remember us. I choose to remember the times when one of our own lost someone and we all banded together to keep each other afloat. I’ll remember the powder puff games when our school spirit was through the roof and we all celebrated our class, the good and bad. I’ll remember the lip syncs we put on, or chose not to put on, and all the fun we had different Homecoming weeks. I’ll remember the football games we won, should have won, and had no chance of ever winning but somehow came out with a victory. I’ll remember the last few days we finished our careers at Tattnall and the newly found camaraderie we had as a class.
I might forget the quadratic formula or how to diagram a sentence, but I’ll remember the people I shared these last 4 years of high school with. I’ll remember the lessons we have learned along the way. I’ll remember to be honest no matter the situation and to keep God in all the choices we make. I’ll remember the friendships I’ve made, and although we might not stay in touch, I’ve learned a lot from every one of you, and I will take those lessons to college. I know a lot more about sports than I did in 8th grade, and according to Ms. Dykes, I even know how to walk in a straight line. I know not to sweat the small things because only the big picture matters. I know that making someone disappointed is a lot worse than making them angry. I know that your parents really do know best, most of the time.
Although I’ve learned a lot, I feel like I’m not really graduating today. Four years really isn’t a long time when you think about it. I still remember senior breakfast at Ethan’s and stressing about making it back from lunch on time and sometimes, just realizing that you’re going to be late no matter how fast you drive. I remember watching so many senior classes leave Tattnall and I cannot believe it’s our turn, but it is and even if y’all forget everything else I’ve mentioned, there’s just one thing I want y’all to make sure you never forget.
On every one of our senior t-shirts, we’ve had a quote about greatness. First we had Shakespeare who said, “Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great; some achieve greatness; and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Next, we had Drake, the rapper not the academic dean, who said, “Last name ever, first name greatest.” Finally, we had Ralph Waldo Emerson, with only one m, who said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” All of our quotes have talked about what’s inside and that greatness we were born with thanks to God. I don’t want you to forget this as we go our separate ways and our class, 57 students, spreads out from 1 minuscule school in 1 tiny city to26 colleges 4 separate states. We are all great. If the hobbits, the lowliest race of Middle Earth, can achieve greatest, so can this class. There’s your Lord of the Rings analogy Joseph since you said no speech can be good without one. Shakespeare talks about the different ways people become great but notice something- he says everyone is great. Everyone is great because they were born great, have achieved greatness, or had no choice but to be great. He doesn’t add a fourth scenario of “and some people just aren’t great”. We are all great for different reasons, and even if you don’t remember anything from Tattnall, I want you to remember that.