“But there is hopeful news as well …”
You have been elected by your classmates to deliver a speech at your school’s graduation ceremony. Write the text of the speech you would give, encouraging your audience to be optimistic about the future.
Paper I Higher Level 2010 Section C Q 5
Good morning family, friends, faculty, and fellow students. Well, we did it. We all accomplished one of the major early milestones in our lives: secondary school graduation. We arrived here only five short years ago, or six for some, and now it's already time to leave. How did it all go so fast? It seems like only yesterday that we were those small and nervous first years, with the locks on our lockers, the keys on chains, trying to figure out where our next class was, and looking generally clueless at all of the senior students. Now we ourselves are the seniors who stand here ready to graduate and move forward in the world. The instinct may be to look back, however, my speech today will focus on our future.
After the first couple of days in Leaving Cert, it not-so-gently hits you right in the face that other people have also started to regard you as a young adult. Teachers, parents and adults in general expect you to think and act more responsibly, as befits your new position in society. The first problem encountered is that of choosing a career. Of course, we had always realised that eventually we would have to decide what to do with the rest of our lives, but never in our wildest dreams, or worst nightmares, did we imagine just how difficult it would really be. We begin to look forward into our futures when the careers teacher bombards us with information about points, open days, CAO applications, subject choices, apprenticeships and requirements. It vaguely registers somewhere in the back of your mind that you’ve heard all this before, perhaps in last year’s careers class, but you weren’t really listening at the time because it was just kind of boring and irrelevant. Right now it’s about as far away from irrelevant as it can possibly be, and your head is in a whirl. Yet, with this in mind, we should be optimistic about what the future holds. We are starting a journey on a road to our adult lives. Our CAO forms are filled, hopefully with options that will make our futures bright. Enjoy and cherish these moments, as they are not to be relived.
What do we have to be optimistic about with the stress of the next two weeks of exams to hit us yet? I am sure the teachers present here today will agree with me when I say that if you have made it this far, albeit with all the roadblocks and bumps along the way – that we all have come to experience but have overcome, you can stick another fortnight! The hardest part is over. Look forward to Leaving Cert night, the debs and set this as a target. A target, that no matter what, you want to hit. After all, why should we take our foot off the pedal now, with such little left to go? You can almost feel the road that lies ahead under your feet and you are but a few steps away from a new trail. The question is, where will it lead you? Or rather, where will you lead yourself? I think we can also live happy in the knowledge that many is a candle that is lit by grandmothers nationwide, some here alongside us today.
At times, it can be challenging to look forward. In addition to this, it can be difficult to stay optimistic when negative situations stand in front of us. Take a moment to reflect now on the greatest challenge you have faced to date. What is significant about this for all of us? These challenges can be overcome, and most of us here today have overtaken these challenges to continue are journey forward. We have come to realise that situations like this are only temporary and will not last forever. We are only the road to bigger and better things.
The thing that I appreciate the most about school is the friends that you come to make. In a place as big as this school, it can be comforting to know that there is someone there for you, especially when you need it the most. Whether it is someone to walk to the next class with, someone to eat lunch next to, someone to laugh with or someone to cry with, these are the people that really drive you to move forward and to be optimistic about the future. Think about the friends you have made in a time short-lived here. Now think of all the people you can come to love and befriend in a lifetime. Sometimes the future can seem dull. However, some of life’s greatest moments have yet to come; falling in love, starting a family, moving into a new home, learning more and more about ourselves each and every day. Let’s not be naïve and pretend that life’s all bliss. We will experience both good days and bad days. Surpass these hurdles and learn from your mistakes. After all, isn’t this was we have learnt to date? I look down now and see so many smiling faces.
Fellow classmates, the future is bright, shape and mould it in a way that best fits you! Graduation is not an end goal in itself; it is instead a part of the larger journey of life. Wherever your future takes you, let it take you somewhere. Life is a journey, and all the accomplishments we achieve during its course should be taken as starting points for further progress. Our graduation should serve us as a launching point, projecting us to wherever our futures are meant to take us, whether we land ourselves a career, take up a trade or continue our education at college. In the words of Dr Seuss, don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
Congratulations Leaving Cert class of 2017!
Leaving Cert Sample Answers and Notes