Good evening ladies and gentleman, Superintendent Diaz, members
of the school board, Principal Maxwell, faculty, family, friends
and Graduates of the Class of 2006!
Good evening ladies and gentleman, Superintendent Diaz, members of the school board, Principal Maxwell, faculty, family, friends and Graduates of the Class of 2006!
As I sat down to write this speech I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to reflect on life’s biggest mysteries: Does art imitate life or life imitate art? If a tree falls and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Where is my prom tuxedo? Our first day of Kindergarten started with a roll call. Now, 12 years later, we have our final roll call. Graduates of the Class of 2006, look to your right and now look to your left. One of these people might accidentally receive your diploma.
As I walked through campus this week, it struck me how much Gilroy High has changed since we first arrived four years ago. Our time at GHS has been different. During the last few years, several major construction projects have beautified and improved our campus. The G-Building no longer exists and a wonderful student center has taken its place. Our football field now has artificial turf. Going to school during these construction projects has given us a unique perspective: I am proud to say that Gilroy High received a perfect score on the spot welding and drilling sections of the California Exit Exam. Gilroy High School has made tremendous external improvements and remains a source of pride for the community.
But as we improve our school externally, we must not forget those challenges that are more internal. The key for GHS in the coming years will be to recognize and give priority to problems that are not as tangible as a leaky roof or a muddy field. First and foremost, we must focus on the educational experience that students receive. A beautiful new room does not become a classroom until a fully supported teacher works inside it. Resources are limited, and so we must prioritize. The energy devoted to tracking down tardies could be used to reduce the drop out rate. We need to focus on those students who do not make it to school at all rather than those that are five minutes late. This will be difficult. However, the key to improvement will be to focus not on those problems that are easiest to fix, but on those that seem the most daunting. As writer Frank A. Clark put it, “If you find a path with no obstacles, then it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” The potential is here, it is simply untapped. No one thought four years ago that we could have a student center. I hope in four years we can prove those who say the same about test scores wrong as well. As Michelangelo once said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”
When we started Gilroy High School four years ago, many of our friends chose to attend private schools. We must emphasize the advantages provided by GHS to retain these good students. We must ask ourselves, what does Gilroy High School have that all of those private schools do not? The answer is, girls.
In addition to this supreme advantage, we are improving the school culture from within and we are removing the barriers to achievement. As we highlight the areas of where there remains potential for improvement, we must also celebrate our successes. Gilroy High School has made great strides; we have implemented honors classes creating a competitive environment that fosters excellence and we continue to excel in music, and sports.
Gilroy High School is being improved everyday by the work of the dedicated men and women on the faculty. Teachers like Mrs. Frieberg, Mrs. Scetrinni, Mrs. Yoder-Shrock and the entire foreign language department have formed a program that is one of the best around. Their dedication and their focus on the individual have given students a life long skill. Teachers like Mr. Kuwada and Mr. Santos, continue to demand a high level of excellence from their students. They raise the bar so that students can be challenged and meet their goals. Teachers like Mr. Gray and Ms. Elliot challenge and motivate to improve writing and reading skills.
Creativity starts from within. I am proud to say that Ms. Shernock, and Mr. Stocks each took on separate programs on campus and made huge gains. Ms. Shernock ran one of the best newspapers in years with care and enthusiasm and Mr. Stocks revived a drama department that had withered and made it flourish. Then there are those familiar faces, the ones that Gilroy High would feel empty without. Mrs. Gewin in the book room always has a smiling face and her spirit brightens the school. Then there is Mr. Corzo. True story: Freshman year Mr. Corzo came up to me and said, “Mr. Bress, the day your class graduates is the day I retire.” Well, Mr. Corzo we lived up to our end of the bargain, I will expect your bullhorn in my locker by tomorrow. Actually, I’m just kidding. We don’t have lockers. Seriously, I’m glad to hear you will be here another year. I think I speak for the entire class of 2006 when I say thank you to all the teachers and staff members for all the hard work they have put into our education.
This day would not have been possible without the help of all of our family and friends. To my three brothers, your being here today means the world to me. I am proud of all three of you. To my parents you have given me the perfect combination of freedom and guidance. You always been there for me. I love you both. Class of 2006 please join me in applauding our parents and families.
And now, to the Class of 2006, standing up here, most would see a sea of blue caps and gowns, but instead, I see football and field hockey players, I see wrestlers and basketball players, I see musicians, actors, writers and scholars, I also see future doctors, lawyers, teachers and leaders. I see people who are the first in their family to graduate high school and the first to go to college. I see the first class to pass the California exit exam. I see a class with a bright future: the class of 2006!
Today I am proud to be a product of the Gilroy Unified School District, I am proud to be a graduate of Gilroy High School, but most importantly, I am proud to be a member of the Class of 2006.
Good evening Class of 2006, and welcome to the rest of your life.