Hannah Mountz Graduation Speech

Clare Cunningham

So it’s finally here. The countdown on all of our phones reached zero and we get to walk across the stage to receive a sheet of paper that represents 13 years of our lives. Today marks our freedom. Freedom from sitting at a desk, listening to a teacher lecture for 90 minutes at a time, and do endless amounts of homework and studying. Now, for most of us, we finally get to move on to a four-year college to sit at a desk, listen to a teacher lecture, and do endless amounts of homework and studying. Wait a second…

When I started writing this speech, I wanted to be unique and do something no one else had ever done. So I decided to write my entire speech as a poem. I quickly realized why no one else had ever done that.  It’s this little thing called senioritis. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it or not. So when attempting to write that poem, I realized just how deep-set my particular case of senioritis was, and quickly changed my mind.

It seems like every year in high school is so much different than the last. Freshman year is new and exciting and you’re so naïve. And by senior year, you just want to sleep all the time. But high school is easy, you’re used to it at this point, you know where everything is, well except the difference between student support and student services. I don’t think any of us ever actually figured that out. Each year is so different, by the time you’re a senior, it seems like you’re a new person. I don’t think any of us hope we are that same awkward kid we were in middle school.

The transition from middle school to high school is full of huge adjustments though. You turn 16 and get your license, you make new friends, you join different clubs and sports, and you finally stop calling your teacher “mom…”

Like I said, huge adjustments.

But things didn’t come easy to us. And we’re definitely not a class to steer away from difficult situations. Our school rallies behind any need that may present itself.  When we lost Adam, a dear friend to many of us, we didn’t stop fighting. We helped establish a movement that’s message was to stop the hate in the world. We see hard times, and find ways to overcome them, and help each other in the process.

We have some of the strongest and bravest individuals among us who are fighting their own battles, may it be with their health or even their personal lives, but they are never alone.

We will all face obstacles in our lives, but our time here at Staley has taught us one thing for sure. I may not remember what the quadratic formula is, but I will remember the fighting spirits that walked these halls. I will remember that this school taught me to never give up on myself or others.

When I was thirteen years old, I was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy, which in normal person speak means I had an enlarged heart. I thought it was pretty funny, not the disease, but the fact that I could tell people I have a big heart and I wouldn’t be lying. Correction, had a big heart. Past-tense. When I was 15, I received a heart transplant at Children’s Mercy here in Kansas City. I will never forget the posters that hung in my hospital room that said, “Get Well Soon!” that were signed by so many of my peers. And at first that was unbelievable to me, and then I realized it wasn’t. It’s what we did here at Staley. When someone was hurting or in need, we were there for each other. And it’s not just because of my doctors and surgeons , although they did play a MASSIVE role, but it’s because of you guys. My peers, my family, my friends, my teachers… because of the support I received here at Staley, I am standing here today, graduating from high school, something I didn’t think would be possible.

Through the difficult times, it’s important to remember what your dreams are. A wise woman once told me, “Do what you love, and find someone to pay you for it.” If you love to paint, be an artist, if you love music, be a musician, if you love to play videogames, maybe find a job with a lot of free time I guess?

Just remember to do what you love. And please, be an organ donor. Thank you Children’s Mercy, and thank you class of 2017 for all that you have taught me and all that we have taught each other.