Opening Days

Good evening Parents, Teachers, and most importantly, class of 2022…and class of 2021 for incoming 10th graders!   As Mr. Marble mentioned, my name is Patrick O’Kane and I am the Principal of Sturgis East. Welcome.

I had the perfect convocation speech ready for this evening.  It had a nicely packaged metaphor, a bit of humor, referenced popular teenage interests and even had a Latin reference.  However….as I practiced my speech this afternoon a colleague noted that “The Individual” Thanos actually did acquire all six of those gems and “The Team” of Avengers actually lost the Infinity War and, in the process ruined my perfect convocation speech.

So I decided to skip the metaphors and cut right to the chase.

You are all individuals.  In a few days time, you will be called by name to sign in to the Sturgis log and ring our ceremonial bell signifying the start of your Sturgis journey.  After that, you will write your individual name at the top of your assignments, get an individualized report card, and ultimately, be responsible for where you end up in 4 years time.

But you are also a collective.  The class of 2022. You are a network of peers who, for any number of reasons, has landed at Sturgis East in 2018.  You will share the same teachers, ride the same buses to Camp Burgess, compete as a class during Spirit Week and, in time, leave your own unique mark on our school community.

So embrace this duality.  Be an individual. Aspire to be the best imaginable version of you.  Start a new club. Try out for the lead role in the next theater offering.  At the same time, do not ignore those around you. Draw upon your peers for support both socially and academically.  At Sturgis we often say that admitting weakness is a sign of strength. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Each year, we ask every member of the senior class to write a graduation speech.  I would like to close with a portion of the speech written by one of last year’s graduates Jessica Whelpley:

Four years ago, I was secretly hoping that I would not get into Sturgis. When I applied, I was excited about the abstract concept of leaving my old school, of meeting new people and joining new clubs and being in a new and strange place. But as the day of the Sturgis lottery drew nearer, the reality set in:    of leaving behind everything I had built, of leaving behind all of my friendships and all of my routines. What if I didn’t make friends? What if the IB was too hard? What if leaving behind what I knew was the worst decision I would ever make? All of these apprehensions were gnawing away at me as I sat in my room praying for bad news. I didn’t want to have to choose between an outstanding education and happiness. But I did get in. And I did decide to leave behind everything I knew and venture out into the unknown. With that single decision, I began the most formative, most influential, and most wonderful journey of my life.

Good luck and I will see you all tomorrow!







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