Ashley Beffa Graduation Speech


Clare Cunningham

Family, friends, faculty, and distinguished guests,

Do you remember your first day of kindergarten? I went to school with a neon pink Barbie back pack, my hair in pig tails, and my older sister by my side. My parents had no problem sending me to kindergarten, now as I look back and realize that they were probably glad to have another kid out of the house. But back then I thought, my parents were as devastated as I’m sure the staff at Staley is to watch us leave. Regardless, I was under the belief that my parents could hardly hold it together. So, as we waited for the school bus on my first day of kindergarten, I thought of how I could be the big girl that my parents taught me to be. As I was about to my “speech,” I saw the school bus coming down the street, and I forgot everything I was going to say.

So to avoid forgetting everything I am about to say, I wrote this speech down.

It is eerie how similar the last day of high school is like your first day of kindergarten; we may not have had iPhone or iPad or snapchat or Instagram and God only knows, we did not have hashtags, but we have an imagination, and as a 5-year-old little girl staring at the next 13 years of schooling ahead of me I could never imagine that we would be leaving everything we know our parents, our neighbors, our friends, that guy that waves hello to you every day at school, but you never figured out his name. we would be leaving all of them, to start a new adventure.

Staley High School helped us SOAR for this greatness by teaching us many valuable lessons. Throughout our four years, we learned to always walk on the right side of the hallway, senioritis begins before senior year, never poke the bear, don’t blow bubbles during school, and if your paper is not in 12-point font using MLA style, you might as well take the zero. But they also taught us to strive for greatness and that they would help us get there.

But the teachers and staff aren’t the only ones helping us. Many hard working role models have spent the past 18 years of your life preparing you for this very moment. The moment that they have to let go of the hand that they have been squeezing since the second they laid eyes on you. They have to let you learn from your mistakes and pray to God that you grow from them. They have to wait for you to ask for help and advice and guidance because they know that it’s all up to you now. You can sink, or you can swim.

It’s almost like you’re moving across the country. Away from everyone and everything that was familiar, that signified home. Not only are moving away from you parents or role models, but also your teachers, your coaches, and your friends. We had a fun ride guys, but it’s time for us to look forward, to move on, but we will always remember our time together. As a class, we started out with a bang, many students made varsity sports, participated in a play, joined journalism, yearbook, or discovered the arts.  Then, as the years past, our accomplishments got bigger and bigger.  Our sports have won conference and district championships. Robotics qualified for Worlds, The Wiz won a blue star award. We had individuals go to State in wrestling, FBLA, tennis, DECA, cross country, swim and dive. As a team, the cheerleaders have won state, the emeralds have won state, softball has won state. But we do not just achieve in afterschool activities, our graduation rates are increasing, ACT scores have risen, and attendance rates are climbing.

The class of 2017 has gone down in Staley history. We will always have these memories… but it’s time that we lived new ones.

I may not have the pink Barbie back pack anymore, and I definitely ditched the pig tails, but the fact remains that we are stepping out of our comfort zone to explore something new. We are going to walk out of here tonight and leave high school behind. Then, not too much later, we are going to be waving goodbye to our parents like they waved goodbye to us on our very first day of school.  If high school is like our first day of kindergarten, I wonder what college will be like.


Congratulations class of 2017!