Senior Speech: Adam Tarrant

Ethan Pender, Editor-in-Chief, Student Publications

Click above to check out our ThingLink, an interactive look at senior Adam Tarrant’s speech in assembly on Feb. 1, 2016.

As you can see I am part of the winter musical, which all of you should come see this weekend, and as such I have been rather busy the past week. I actually went to bed at 3:17 last night because I had to finish an application that had to be physically mailed and postmarked today. So yeah I wrote this today. Anyway, I have a few humanitarian concepts I want to talk about today.

Have you ever been around someone who was really excited about something or who just really enjoyed what they were doing? (And yes, I used “they” as a gender neutral singular pronoun) I know people have seen me like this because Chase and Winston are never going to let go of the memory of me walking into practice talking about how cool the area volume equations we were doing calculus that day were. But Dawson agrees with me. I told him about that while I was writing this in fourth period today and he said, “Hey, area volume equations are legit.” But never once did they try to shame me or make fun of me for it. To find someone who is happy and likes what they are doing and then bring them down or make fun of them for it is ridiculous. Does that person do it out of need to feel powerful? I don’t know, but if that is the case, does that person really have that much of a need to feel powerful to destroy the joy of another person, especially if that person is a good friend? Now I’m not talking about when Carl and I are going to Chick Fil A and Will can’t go because of swimming so we say swimming is lame. We don’t actually mean swimming is lame, and he knows that. One of my friends told me a week or so ago about one of his friends who was making fun of him for participating in an activity that wasn’t considered super cool, and that’s why I thought about this.

*pull out dollar*: Dawson, how much is this worth? What if I fold in in half? What if I crumple it up and throw it on the ground? Is someone going to walk by it and say, “I’m not going to pick that up, it’s all crumpled”? No they’re going to pick it up and say “sweet I found a dollar!” Then they’re going to take it to the student life office because honor above everything. Anyway this dollar is a metaphor for each and every one of you. No matter how much life crumples you up and throws you on the ground, you still have intrinsic human value. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And building on that idea, everyone’s value is equal even if they express themselves in different ways. There is a beloved sweater-wearing actor who once explained that by saying, “In a way, you’ve already won in this world because you’re the only one who can be you. And that’s the way it’s suppose to be.” Does anyone recognize that? That’s Mr. Rogers. He was in a children’s show, and he was speaking wisdom that many adults have yet to learn.

But what about people who don’t believe that everyone is equal? What about prejudice? Well, like compassion, prejudice is learned. We are exposed to prejudices as we go through life and sometimes they stick with us. But there is a difference between having prejudice thoughts and actually being prejudiced. Okay think about this scene: you’re sitting in the dining hall and a guy you’ve never met before walks in cross-dressed. The first thing that goes through your mind is going to be along the lines of “uhhh what’s he wearing?” or “why is he wearing that?” or “he shouldn’t be wearing that.” But you know what, the first thought that pops into your head is a result of your upbringing, and the second thought, the “hey you know what he can wear whatever he wants, that’s his choice” that’s who you are as a person. We acquire new viewpoints as we grow. “We all change. When you think about it, we’re all different people all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, as long as you keep moving, as long as you remember all the people that you used to be.” Use your experiences and your education to build the person you are into the very best version of yourself.

Well I’ve prattled on long enough, so I’ll do my thank you’s. Thanks mom and dad for staying up late with me to help me revise various college essays and for putting up with my procrastination. Thank you, Will, for that introduction and for keeping me on my feet. Thank you carl and dawson for keeping up my desire to do well in class. Thank you Lawson Sumner for being one of my only friends freshman year when I knew almost no one. Thank you Mr. Camp for being a teacher, a mentor, and for giving me the opportunity to succeed. Thank you Mr. Schmidt and Mrs. Dodd for teaching me how to study and learn. Thank you Mrs. Daniel for unlocking my potential by pushing and pushing me to be the best that I can be. And thank you Palesa Molapo for always being cheerful and friendly and for telling me what I need to hear. It might not mean that much to you but it means the world to me.