Seniors Reflect on Sturgis (Summer 2015)

Each year before graduation, all seniors prepare a graduation speech.  The speeches are reviewed by a faculty committee that invites two students at each campus to give their speeches at Graduation. The full text of all speeches delivered at graduation are included in Graduation 2015 – Sturgis East and Graduation 2015 – Sturgis West.

The Class of 2015 submitted excellent graduation speeches.  It is always interesting to read student reflections about their journeys at Sturgis. We hope you enjoy reading the following excerpts from Class of 2015 graduation speeches.

Kevin

Kevin Agostinelli

Kevin Agostinelli, Class of 2015 – East

When being asked what about Sturgis separates it from most other high schools, I respond with “the teachers” without any hesitation.  The faculty here are simply world class, using their time, talents, and treasures to make us better students.  I am forever indebted to these teachers for inspiring me as I changed from a boy to a young man.  We symbolize everything that Sturgis has to offer.  We trust and believe in ourselves and we trust and believe in each other.  We finished these four years as better people.

Livvy Blomdahl, Class of 2015 – West

Olivia Blomdahl

Olivia Blomdahl

You know as much as we love to complain about Sturgis, the lack of microwaves, all the homework—deep down we really do love this school and are thankful for everything it has done for us.  They gave us a chance at one of the hardest programs in the world.  Each of us, even those of us on IEPs.  Do you know how rare that is?  Most schools only pick their best and brightest students for IB or AP.  You know, the kids who have been getting A’s since middle school because they think that those are the only students who can succeed in the IB program.  Students like me would be given other classes with teachers that have just given up.  That doesn’t happen at Sturgis.  You’re placed in a class where the teacher actually cares about you.  They want you to succeed.  The only time that they get mad at you is if they felt like you weren’t living up to your full potential.  So thank you Sturgis for everything that you have done for me.  For turning me into a better person, for letting me have opportunities that I may not have had at other schools.

Sophia Braddel Signs Out

Sophia Braddel Signs Out

Sophia Braddel, Class of 2015 – East

These past two years in the IB have pushed me harder than I ever thought I could endure.  Even the times when I was trying to memorize my monologues, having two hour rehearsals, working through lunch, finishing my Extended Essay and only resting when it was time to go to sleep, it was the most accomplished I’ve ever felt.  The harder we pushed—the closer we all became.  It is the small things that I will remember, especially Ms. Daley asking us, “Well, how do you know that?”

Emma Brimdyr

Emma Brimdyr

Emma Brimdyr, Class of 2015 – East

Really hard, but completely worth it, and I am so proud to have survived.

Matt Cappucci, Class of 2015 – East

Matthew Cappucci

Matthew Cappucci

720 school days ago on August 28, 2011, 102 of us flocked to Sturgis in search of new opportunities:  specifically more welcoming classmates, a more conducive atmosphere to learning, more supportive teachers, and a more challenging education.  Mr. Rich told us a story and ended it with these words, “There will be people out there that will try to crush your dreams; they’ll pound your dreams with a hammer; they’ll jab at your dreams with a scissors, and maybe leave them in a pile of shreds.  And in the end, despite what they may do to your dreams, you must always remember that they’re still just as valuable as when you started, still as important, and still out there waiting for you to cash them in.”  We are heading on out to pursue our dreams!  We’re all here right now, graduating from one of the best educational institutions in not only the state, but the entire country.  It has been an incredible effort, not only by the students but most especially by teachers and faculty as well.  It has been rigorous, immensely challenging, and at times you may have felt that you could persevere no longer.  But you did it, and I commend each and every one of you!

The opportunities that Sturgis provides its students are endless and world-class; what makes us different is that the teachers don’t care only about how strong we are as students, but they care for our happiness and well-being as a person  and I am truly blessed to have made one hundred and one of my best friends over the past four years in what has become like a second family for me.

While it may be a bit daunting at first, remember that while our journey at Sturgis may be coming to an end, our true journey is just beginning.

It will be a long journey, filled with twists and turns, potholes, roadblocks, and everything in between. But as wise Mr. Rich once said, don’t turn around; plow through those roadblocks and keep climbing. Your dreams are worth it. Soon enough, you’ll get to where you want to be. Sturgis has given each and every one of us the tools we need to succeed, and success is out there just waiting for us.

And though we find ourselves in the driver’s seat, it’s not all about the destination in the end. Because even when we’ve climbed the mountain and reached where we want to be, there will always be some new avenue to explore. So enjoy the ride! Don’t be afraid to take some risks and have some fun; homework and jobs

Stephanie Crowley, Class of 2015 – West

Stephanie Crowley

Stephanie Crowley

The goal, ultimately, at least for the teachers I have encountered at Sturgis, is to have their students view the school not as a workplace, or a bore, but as an institution of something so valuable as the knowledge they have passed on, through war, and disease, and censorship.  A place where you come to be enriched because you want to learn, though stressful at times, though tedious at times, but in the end to have students appreciate the journey—and the reward.  We are standing here as the graduating class appreciating both the journey and the reward.  Some things that I have learned:  Failing does not mean failure; Never rely on Sparknotes; Hard work pays off; There will always be a teacher that changes your view of life.  Personally, all of the teachers have impacted my view of life in one way or another.  Though it has been tough, I can finally say it has been worth it.

Allegra Davis, Class of 2015 – West

Allegra Davis

Allegra Davis

No matter what field you’re drawn to, your passion and choice to pursue that passion are admirable. What really matters, in the end, is that you found that one thing – whether an academic or research field, a practical science, leadership, the arts, something athletic – that makes you feel truly alive.  That one thing is really the key to a successful life, I think, because when you find the field you’re passionate about, you’ll push yourself to be among the best. If you wield the power of self-knowledge and passion for the field, you hold the potential to pour your ideas into our collective human conscience.

Anapuri Feldman, Class of 2015 – West

Anapuri Feldman

Anapuri Feldman

At Sturgis, the biggest thing we don’t do is orthodoxy.  We don’t do uniformity—you can tell that by the color of our walls, which are both avant-garde and incredibly difficult to accept for their ratio of 3 yellow walls to one blue in every classroom.  We don’t do basic multiple choice.  We don’t accept just any kind of footwear.  But we are all about individuality—which is why we are required to take the IB, uniting our individuality.  We are not about weakness for our curriculum is full of buzzwords like rigor, pizz-azz, and IB Learner Profile.  The IB is truly a success in that it shows off your strengths, testing your existence until the thing left behind is the morsel of yourself that was too darn effervescent to die in the fight.  We go to school every day and try, even on the rainy days, to be a good person and to expand our minds.

Claire Gilliland, Class of 2015 – West

Claire Gilliland

Claire Gilliland

There is a plaque hanging on the wall of my room that reads “some succeed because they are destined to; most succeed because they are determined to.”  This plaque perfectly embodies our graduating class.  Four years ago, we each determined to face the challenge which coming here entails.  One could go on about the challenges we took upon ourselves, but what is more important is the incredible bond we have created over the past four years.  I am always amazed at how far out of their way my classmates will go in order to help each other.  We have grown together and discovered who we are and what truly makes us happy.  I love to see people light up when they talk about what they love.  Remember what Will Smith once said, “if you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you are wasting your time.  Your life will become better by making other lives better.”

Sander Goldman, Class of 2015 – East

Sander Goldman Self Portrait

Sander Goldman Self Portrait

We’re not just here to gush about the last four years and cry about what we’re leaving behind, we’re here to commence our real lives, to look toward the future at what lies ahead for us. From now on, even if it’s not right away, we’re pretty much on our own. I, like most of us, will be living away from home, separated from the safety net of my family. I’ll be relying on work for money, doing my own laundry, remembering to eat and sleep at the appropriate times. Eventually I’ll need to figure out what it is I want to do with my life, get a job, a place to live, eventually a career, all under a hovering dark cloud of crushing student debt. Every ounce of logical thought in me leads to the conclusion that I should be terrified. By all accounts I should be curled up in a ball in the corner crying and begging them not to let me graduate. But I’m not. I feel fine. And I have Sturgis to thank for that.

Now is the time when I say “Thank you, Sturgis.” But before I do that, I want to make sure that my meaning is totally clear. Sturgis is not its curriculum, or its academic program, or its charter, or its building. No definitely not the building. Sturgis is its people. Right now I could thank Ms Williams for guiding me through Nicaragua and my Extended essay, I could thank Mr. Bihl for watching over me in advisory and Latin class from my first day of freshman year to today. I could thank Mrs. Cope and Ms. Abel for fostering my love of art, and writing countless recommendation letters for every art school and scholarship I could find. I could thank Mr. Abel for turning history into something interesting that I can actually care about. I could thank Mrs Todoroff for inexplicably knowing the names of every single new student on the first day of school. “Thank you, Sturgis.”

 

Cooper Heilman, Class of 2015 – East

First of all, Sturgis is a small school. Our classes are small, we all have had the same teacher at least once, and there has only ever been one small hallway where we gather from time to time to get to our lockers. Because of this, we have had the chance to truly get to know one another quite well. We have been forced to give each other a chance while making friendships, no matter how difficult that may have been. Over the years, I think that we have had the chance to make closer friendships than we could have in a school that was much larger and less personal.

My gratitude goes first and foremost to my parents and my family. I think sometimes we underestimate the role our parents play in helping us achieve our goals. They are like the air we breathe; since they are always there for us, we don’t take notice of them as much as we should.

Victoria Jackson, Class of 2015 – East

My experience at Sturgis has not only been life-changing, but also heart-warming. It has taught me how to value myself as an individual and as part of something even greater.

Daniel Kamb, Class of 2015 – West

Daniel Kamb

Daniel Kamb

At my old school, people just kept to themselves and heaven forbid if they said one word to a person that they did not know.  But everything was different at Sturgis.  Not only has this school exposed me to a community that I never thought would be possible, it also taught me things that I would not have learned if I had gone elsewhere.  Sturgis has taught me about me.  If I wasn’t pushed to my limits and beyond, I do not think that I would be standing here today as the confident and sure individual that I am today.  I learned things about myself that I never knew, things like commitment, passion, insanity, diligence, perseverance.  After four years of Sturgis, I am not afraid to fail.  I am not afraid to stand up for myself.  I know exactly who I am and I know just how far and when to push myself.

John LeRoy, Class of 2015 – West

John Leroy

John Leroy

When I shadowed at Sturgis East, I was completely overwhelmed.  I then quickly became encaptured with aspects I was noticing.  I was confused by the fact that the students seemed to actually LIKE their teachers.  I was dazed by how the students in Latin class actually seemed to enjoy what they were doing.  I was blindsided by the fact that the students seemed to care for each other.  What an insane concept!!  When I stepped into Sturgis West for the first time as a freshman, the same sense of awe filled me.  Making the transition from the old furniture store to the next Sturgis West building for our sophomore year was bittersweet for all of us.  Yes, we were enthralled with the abundant windows and the atrium, but there were some things that we were going to miss.  The biggest change was that we were no longer physically close.  The sense of intimacy was something that many of us had grown fond of, and it was bizarre all of a sudden having all of the space.  Knowing that our teachers cared for our well-being helped us feel comfortable not only with them, but also with being a part of the school as a whole.  Our classmates were our guide to the rigorous IB program as well as we learned to trust each other.  Getting to learn and get inspired by the phenomenal faculty has been life-changing.  Perhaps most importantly, high school and Sturgis has inspired me to make the best of what I have and the people around me.

Peter McPherson, Class of 2015 – East

Sturgis pushed me to be the best, hardest working and creative version of me I could be.

Jesse Newcombe, Class of 2015 – West

Jesse Newcombe

Jesse Newcombe

Now, I can tell by looking out at some of the parents here today that this is obviously a very emotional day full of a strange mix of sadness, rejoice, and most importantly pride—Mom, please stop crying!  Even though we were in the IB, we do deserve a break, right Mr. Lee—I swear that I’ve got that dictator project in my car right now!!  Can I still get credit?       We started our junior year, and then it happened that we hit the proverbial wall, the IB.  We became hesitant, wondering if we should turn around and leave, but something inside us told us to stay.  It was the promise of the view from the top—today–when you know you can do anything and become anything.  We endured Mama Kelly’s constant learning logs and Mr. Newcombe’s stupid jokes—sorry Dad!!  At times, we were exhausted and full of self-doubt, but we did it.  None of us did this alone.  Ultimately, we achieved something incredibly difficult together.  We should all take pride in our role in establishing something amazing—Sturgis West!!

Lily Paradise, Class of 2015 – East

Lily Paradise

Lily Paradise

We have finally made it to the “light at the end of the tunnel” that was promised us.  We’re free from all those acronyms—IAs, IOCs, EE’s, IOP’s—that only ever really stood for stress!  The school never has been easy so this is quite the accomplishment.  Sleep became a luxury and it was hard to believe there was really an end to all of this.  We’ve all been given more than enough challenges to overcome, but none of us gave up.  Now we are equipped with a strength that none of us possessed before coming to this place.  Teachers that we’ve had for years or maybe never at all have been a huge part of our Sturgis careers.  It is going to be hard to leave them behind.  So before we go, thank you, teachers, for sharing your love of the subjects you teach us and for never wanting to see us fail.

Maggie Randall, Class of 2015 – East

Maggie Randall

Maggie Randall

For the past four years, I have been taking so many simple, beautiful things for granted.  I have delved wholly into the pleasure of going to a school where I can talk to everyone, where I have someone in every single class that I can turn to for help, where I can discuss a myriad of topics with my teachers, where I can ask my teacher to adopt me and it’s not weird—just kidding, it is still weird, but it’s OK.  Seniors, someday we will find ourselves in foreign places with new faces thinking about sunny days in Hyannis—and we won’t let go.

John Russell, Class of 2015 – West

Ambitious, driven, and inventive.  Quirky, creative, and eclectic.  Students with diverse talents, interests, and beliefs.  The group of young adults in front of you are different from the thousands of other graduates worldwide by nature of our unity through diversity.

John Russell

John Russell

My first day of school as a Sturgis student, Autumn of 2012. Stepping into a new school full of 300 new faces as a sophomore, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. What I experienced that first day, I never could have expected. I was greeted and welcomed by people I had never seen before, accepted and treated, to use the words of a now close friend, “ like he has been here the whole time.: The open mindedness and acceptance that embraced me is definitely a representation of our class and what we believe in, and has had a positive change on me as an individual over the past three years.

The lessons we learned outside the classroom from the hours of work done on projects and assignments, and the somewhat unhealthy amounts of stress in the form of acronyms, such as EE, TOK, IOCs, PPPs and many more that I have blocked from memory, are truly a blessing in disguise.  These experiences pushed us past where we thought our limits were. They took us to a point where we thought we knew we could not go further, and made us go further. In our futures, I am convinced that, due to our experiences at Sturgis, we will have the determination, no matter the challenge, to surprise even ourselves with our own ability.

Dan Souza, Class of 2015 – East

Sturgis has given me the humility to know I won’t always be the best at everything, and the confidence to try anyway.

Julia Tager, Class of 2015 – East

Julia Tager

Julia Tager

Little did I know when I walked into school on my first day, that we would accomplish so much.   I didn’t know that 3 years later I’d be writing a dissertation in French!  Whether or not you chose the full IB diploma, you know that your 4 years at Sturgis spell intense academic challenges all along the way.  I tried to imagine what it would be like if Sturgis did not exist—if we never met at all, each staying at our home high schools.  Sam Wood would have saved gallons upon gallons of gas due to not having to make the lengthy journey from Provincetown every day.  The annex might still be a furniture building,  and the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority might be broke without all of us, or the P & B busses might not be so packed on weekdays.  But I hope that the best part about coming together—all by chance, thanks to some tiny printed lottery numbers on a January in 2011—has been growing our community.  Sturgis really is made up of that lucky group of 14 year-olds whose names get pulled in the lottery or off the wait list.  Class of 2015, I feel like the luckiest one to say that my life has been touched by you.  Thank you!

Sam Wood, Class of 2015 – East

Sam Wood

Sam Wood

Many of you know that I was not as student at Sturgis first.  I attended a high school whose name I won’t speak, where I was tortured by its barbaric environment for the first few weeks of freshman year.  When I was offered a spot at Sturgis, I was eager to accept.  And I should have been, for the school would contribute much more to my education that I thought plausible.  Graduation day is the time that one is bound to begin reminiscing, but I say if I don’t have to remember that physics IB exam, all the better!!  It is not often found in history that anyone of any social class is allowed a strong education.  Usually, it’s reserved for a select few.  Regardless of what any angry students or adults say about this school in regard to their own preferred means of education, there are few schools that can compete with Sturgis—public or private.

A Footnote about Cultural Soundings

Cultural Soundings provides an opportunity for the Sturgis community to weigh in on various topics and gives everyone a chance to to see Sturgis through the lens of literature, art, film, travel, music, etc. Past topics include:

Travel Tales (Fall 2011);   Sturgis Reads (Spring 2012);   Cape Cod Quintessence (Summer 2012);  Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation (Fall 2012);  Where Were You When…? (Summer 2013); Comfort Food (Fall 2013);  All Time Favorite Teachers (Summer 2014)Books that Change Lives (Winter 2014)

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