By Brendan White
Hello! First of all I would like to thank each and every one of you for being here to celebrate this joyous occasion. Thank you to all the teachers for all of their hard work and thank you to the administration and board members for their time and energy. I also need to thank my parents and on behalf of the Cardinal Class of 2018, I want to thank all of our parents and families for their constant love and support.
I guess I would like to begin today with a quick story. Two years ago, Cole Zemelka stood on this very stage and gave a great speech. Later that day, I saw Cole and complimented him on his speech. He smiled at me and said “My legs were shaking the whole time.” Cole demonstrated something to me that day. Even though he was very nervous, he still stood up here and gave a great speech. Cole showed me perseverance. Or in a simpler term: grit. And this is how I will forever remember the class of 2018. The class of grit. By definition, grit is courage, determination and resolve. Another way to say it is that grit simply means strength of character. I believe that the Cardinal Class of 2018 has demonstrated its individual and collective strength of character many times and in many different ways over the years. As a class, we have had to be strong and come together to get through our ever-changing society. In 2005, when many of us started school, YouTube was just created, the X box was just released, and the “Star Wars Revenge of the Sith” was blowing up the box office. In the past 12 years, the world has changed rapidly. During this time, we came together to find our identity. Along this path, we encountered numerous obstacles. The most prominent obstacle we encountered was the levy. In November 2016, our levy failed. As a school, and as a class, we were devastated. The future was uncertain. However, there was one solution. We had to pass the levy in May. This is one of our brightest moments. Together, we found ways to get out in the community and raise awareness for the levy. We worked tirelessly for many months. This included working phone drives to call members in the community, as well as forming a student levy committee to spread the word over several news stations. Finally, after much hard work and a lot of pounding the pavement, we passed the levy. This could not have been done without every student coming together as a school and beyond that, a district. And with the class of 2017 almost out, our class took the weight of the responsibility not only for ourselves, but every other student in this district to give them a certain and hopeful future. Now, let us take a moment to consider and appreciate what we did. We helped pass a levy to benefit every single student, and more – students who will start school for the first time in the fall. Aside from the levy, we have also been in the middle of an educational change. As standards were made and tests were put into practice, we found ourselves with each “new and upcoming” test being the first to tackle yet another change in education. And still, we never shied away and kept pushing through it.
The quality of grit is one of the most important qualities a person can have. In this day and age, it takes a special kind of person to make it. It takes strength of character. It takes courage and resolve. Many people go through life without it, and never realize it. Everyone has grit, they just need to realize they can persevere. This is one lesson that we will always be able to take with us. After today, many of us will not be together, but the grit we have will carry us through struggles in life. Those who can endure and persevere throughout life’s endless obstacles are the ones who succeed the most. From this day on, I know the class of 2018 will continue to persevere, no matter what, determined to make the most out of any obstacle, challenge or barrier placed in front of us. I want to end by thanking the members of the Cardinal Class of 2018. It has been my great honor and privilege to share your journey and to witness your strength of character. I wish all of you the best in whatever you decide to do and wherever life takes you. Godspeed and thank you.
By Joey Bradesca
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. As we are packed in this gym today like a can of sardines, many of you may have taken a glance into the crowd and noticed the size of our graduating class. You may have thought to yourself, “Wow, they have a very tiny graduating class.” I would be lying if I said you were wrong. Our class is composed of 89 kids, which is an extremely small amount. This isn’t anything new, however. Cardinal has always had tiny class sizes, and ours is definitely no exception. Whether it was our sport teams who barely had enough people to form a team, or the sheer size of the clubs at the school, our numbers didn’t quite compare to those of other neighboring schools. Most individuals would have either given up or quit. However, we The Class of 2018, aren’t like most people: we have something special in us. Let me explain…
The hobby of fishing has taught me many valuable lessons about life, and the importance of the little things. I remember countless moments where my friends and I would go out on fishing excursions, aiming for the big prized fish. Luke and I would use large baits that would target the “big ones”. Most days we would come up empty-handed. And then there was Hayden. Hayden would use worms and he’d be ecstatic catching countless little bluegills. I never quite understood the thrill of catching a fish that small. That is, until recently. I began to see something I was blind to before. Fishing with my friends, especially Hayden, has taught me that the size of your catch isn’t the important thing. In the world we live in today, we are surrounded by billions of other fish, some may be bigger than us, some may be smaller. However, it seems it’s the smallest fish that puts up the biggest fight. As I look out at my class, it occurs to me that we too are small but mighty.
Four years ago, we arrived at this high school, which at the time seemed like a colossal building. We were scared little freshman who were still learning the ropes. We started to grow and progress, trying to get into the swing of things. We started figuring out that you need to walk on the right side of the hallway. Sophomore year came suddenly, and we began to get a grasp on how high school actually works. And then junior year came in like a freight train straight to the face. Many days were spent stressing out over a test that would determine our futures. And then, senior year arrived, our last year together. We have shared countless laughs, memories and milestones. And through all of this, the sheer size of our class didn’t stop us from achieving numerous accomplishments throughout our high school careers. Our class helped establish the Freshman Mentoring program. We hosted the first National Honor Society Prince and Princess Ball. Several of our seniors have broken records in community service hours, academics and athletics. A few of our sports teams have had record high seasons. And do I even have to mention our theater program? The list of accomplishments goes on and on. We have achieved greatness in what seems to have been a few short years. Imagine what we, the Class of 2018, are going to accomplish in the next few years to come and even greater, over the course of our lifetime. So, congratulations Class of 2018, and always remember it is not the size of the fish, but the fight and tenacity in the fish that counts.