Senior Speeches: Murphy Kenefick

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Senior Speeches: Murphy Kenefick

Murphy Kenefick

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My goodness. When I stand up here, I can’t help but envision myself from Freshman year, sitting up in the balcony in between Hal and AnneMarie, listening to some person I wasn’t aware of begin to speak about their problems or some big experience. And I remember thinking that there was no way that I would be ever able to that. Because to little Freshman me, head freshly shaven from military camp, everything was terrifying. People, grades, all of it. I didn’t know myself yet. I didn’t understand the world or how everyone interacted or why people acted the way they acted. And now, you Freshman seem a lot more grown up than I ever was, and that might be the scariest thing. But I think I’ve made my point that little Freshman me was uncomfortable for the majority of the time. And it wasn’t because of the school or anyone else but me. And that was a choice I made.

So, I left. And that wasn’t the only reason. There were lots of logistical factors that I won’t bore you with, mostly because they’re not important and they can’t be changed. I went on to a different private school in Atlanta that shall remain nameless and for those of you who know me, you know that it was by far the worst year of my life. I honestly hated every minute of it. And not like in a jokey way that I hear some of you complaining about here, like “oh my god we have so much homework, Mr. Evans gave me a demerit because I don’t know how to dress properly BUHHHH kind of way” but in an actually “Jesus get me out of here” way. And this wasn’t even so much because of the school that will remain nameless, even though, honestly, the majority of those people were…well, you know. It was because I was so drastically separated from Darlington. And I know that sounds dramatic, but to me it was everything. At the time, I lived an hour away from school, so there was no way for me to connect. I realized then that it was the people that I missed. I missed sitting in the halls playing the boot-scooting boogie just to irritate Hal (My tab key rests in peace), or getting thrown out of the library because we were “conjugating” or asking Nadin if she wanted More Quizzes, or any of the tiny memories that seem so insignificant at the time.

So for that year, I did the only thing I knew how to do, which was write. And I encourage you, if you feel as lost or demotivated or as sentimental as I did, to write it all out. Writing is important because it’s yours. You don’t have to share it with anybody or turn it in for a grade. It’s your way of talking about what’s relevant to you. Because like Mary Frances said a couple weeks ago, there are no small problems. To an average person, a teenager missing his old private expensive school while unhappy at his current private expensive school may seem minor. But to me, it was the most important and deciding thing in my life. I’m an entirely different person because of it. For a while, I let my fear and anger and loss of hope to motivate my actions. There were several times where I wanted to just throw some kid from the other school across the room, but before I would do anything, I’d think, “Hmmm, I bet Mr. Peer would be more reluctant to let me come back” Because that would be me behaving like a third class citizen. So, I refrained my rough and tough self from knocking some guy into next week. But I did scare myself with the thoughts that I had. I mean, I was mean. I was so surprised at how miserable and cynical goofy silly Freshman Murphy had become.

And I knew that I couldn’t stay there. I knew that I would never graduate there, or come back to the reunion. And sometimes there doesn’t have to be any factual reasons to things, you just know. So I wrote and I prayed and I worked to convince my parents that the hour long trek to Darlington was worth it. Finally my mom realized this when I came up to see Grease at the theater. When the show was over, I talked to so many of you and people who have now graduated and she saw how much different the people here are from anywhere else, especially the other school. She saw the joy that existed here and the intelligence. Well, at least in most of you. That’s why I get so irritated when I hear people complain about how much they don’t like it here. That makes me more angry than anything. Whether you’re a Dar Baby and you’re sick of it or it’s your first year, let me tell you that you don’t know how good you’ve got it.

The yearbook asked me to describe my experience here in one word and I comically picked “magical”. But honestly, that’s the best word I could think of. Not in the childhood storybook goofy way but in the way that things happen here that are truly unusual in a good sense. People here are different and bright. It wouldn’t be Darlington without the makeup of people here. There are a lot of you I don’t know, maybe recognize. A few of you that, bluntly, I really can’t stand. A ton of you that I really do like and enjoy daily. And there’s a select few of you that I absolutely love. And it’s that combination of variances that makes Darlington what it is and I‘m sure that most of you feel the same way and if you don’t, I encourage you to find at least one person here that you can totally trust and feel comfortable around.

And yeah, to finish the story, I came back here my junior year, after much encouragement from current and previous students and my family and a lot of important people, and since then, I’ve loved every minute of this place. So, my final encouragements to you all, to you especially Murphy in the back row:

Write what you think and feel and love and experience, find the people that you truly love and make you better (maybe even create a top five if you want, I don’t know just an idea), appreciate Darlington for what it is (Everyday I stop on the path outside of the English building around where Ms. Wilson’s room is and I look around and I swear it’s the most beautiful place on campus), and finally, know that everything that happens to you does matter because it defines who you are and the more you pay attention to that the more wise you’ll become.

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