(Speech given at the Academic Awards Ceremony)
My name is Alex and I have been a student at Staten Island Academy since Pre-K and next year I will be attending the University of Miami.
Through out the rest of the night, people will receive awards for success in different fields that make up the academic environment of Staten Island Academy. Whether you are an athlete, a singer, an artist, an engineer, a teacher, etcetera, you have been first and foremost a student. While there are many different qualities that could describe a successful student, character is one aspect necessary in order to develop many of these said qualities. Now, I could describe character by starting out with the stereotypical, “the dictionary states that character is the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves, or the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual” and then continue for the next few minutes explaining how this definitions can pertain to everyone here. However, I think the whole idea of character is that there cannot be one definition that pertains to everyone sitting here in this room. Everyone here has a different story, different beliefs, and a different outlook on life. Some believe they should prioritize the humanities rather than the sciences, or there are those that have so many stories of their own that they could fill up six seasons of a television series. With all these differences, these students, these people, have their own characters to help guide through their individual journeys.
In order to be thriving student, one most have the structure of character to help guide him or her, and he or she must not be afraid to change his or her beliefs and feelings when new information is presented to him or her. At the same time, when students fall down during their journey, they should be able to get up, brush themselves off, and move forward without loosing themselves along the way.
As stated before, I am going to be attending the University of Miami in the fall, and during my journey over the past few months when deciding on where to go to college, I developed a little corner of my own character. Before making my decision, I asked many people in my life that, I thought, would give me some strong advice to make the process easier. Out of all the different voices making the decision for me, there were a few people who gave me some of the greatest advice of all, and even though it did not make the decision easier, I would like to say it changed me for the better. They told me that I was faced with a tough choice: I was at a cross roads and the only person who would make the right decision was me. I had to depend on my own character; my own beliefs and rules that I decided to adhere to in order to shape my own future, not the predetermined one someone else saw for me.
So, if I have kept your attention for at least some of this speech, let me just add one more thing. I want you to think to yourself, what makes up my own character? To me, character is not something that can be fully described or can be digitally installed like a program. You determine your own character; you are the one who can ask yourself, “Ok, what am I going to do next?”