MAILING : P.O. Box 8, Los Olivos, CA 93441
Presented at Midland’s Graduation 2021
As I began writing this speech, I reflected back to my first days at Midland. I remember standing outside of the freshman showerfire room, kindling and paper in hand, wondering what to do when Max approached me and offered to teach me how to build my first shower fire. Unwittingly, as he crumpled the paper and set the kindling just so, Max set a precedent for what a Midland student was supposed to be. His help and kindness that day characterized the support and leadership his class would continue to exemplify for the rest of their time as students at Midland. As I continued through my freshman year, the then sophomores continued to be role models in the classes I shared with them. My peers in Spanish class taught me the importance of speaking up and participating; and my peers in geometry taught me the value of always putting forth my best effort.
By the end of that year, I had learned many lessons from this senior class, punctuated with a final lesson from Luke: never, ever, eat plants you cannot identify.
As juniors this class continued to support and help the community grow in their roles as job heads and upperclassmen. In particular, my dish house head, Macy, relentlessly set the bar high, never letting us forget the importance of being on time, working efficiently, and having fun while you do it. On outdoor trips Melia and Luke, no matter how steep the terrain, how deep the snow, or difficult the task at hand, they always role modeled the importance of positive participation in the group and patience with those of us who didn’t quite understand that yet. In the second semester, my first time on horse crew, Maddy taught me the importance of showing up each and every morning and upholding our individual roles as part of a team. Collectively, this class has taught us this lesson over and over again.
As seniors, this class faced challenges that none had before. Somehow, they managed to integrate new students into our community with zoom assemblies and online orientation. When we came back to in-person school, they seemed to effortlessly keep our community together by following the endless COVID guidelines and holding the rest of us to the same standards. In their senior theses and projects they left us lasting gifts, including trails and platforms, as well as lessons that the rest of us will pass on to future generations of Midlanders. Their boundless curiosity for such topics as Ending the Military Draft to explorations of the meat industry and of sustainable ranching left me and many of my peers excited to pursue our own research in years to come.
In every aspect of Midland, the seniors have raised the bar, all the while bringing the community with them. They constantly encouraged others to push themselves beyond their limits, whether it was until we couldn’t run anymore in cross-country or to ensure we always saw there was more in ourselves than we believed. Personally, I would not be here today without the support of this class. I would never have had the courage to write a speech or the confidence to speak before a large group of people, many of whom I don’t know.
In this regard, every student sitting before you right now has left an indelible mark on not just me, but the entire student body. It is this mark that will stay with the community and each of its members for years to come. Class of 2021, congratulations and thank you for everything!
By Ben ’22
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