Last Word Speeches 2019

Senior English students had one final project. Write a 3-5 minute speech that serves as your last words to Covenant. The English classroom was a safe place where you could say anything you wanted. Here are a few excerpts from this year’s class we are posting (with permission), followed by Laine Butler’s full speech.

  • This place has shaped all of us into the person we are becoming. We have had teachers who have prayed over us, teachers who actually care about us, a day that we take off just for serving, and relationships made here that I wish would never fade away. I want to leave you with one thing: As you go about your next four years, do not take your time on this earth for granted. Make memories with the people you love, get out of your comfort zone, but most of all, glorify God as you have been taught to do here at Covenant. Thank you. -Nyah
  • God has poured into me in this school, and now I can really see that through the acceptance from the community of Covenant and the teachers. Even after all my mistakes of failing, they really have been a loving community. Thank you, Covenant! -Mason
  • Now that we’re in our last week at Covenant I urge you, whether you are this person I described or not, to write a note to a teacher telling them how thankful you are for them, because I can assure you there is at least one teacher who made a major impact and probably doesn’t even know. -Reagan
  • Shine for something that actually matters, something that doesn’t pass away. We are all so small in this world, but I think that’s a good thing, remind yourself of that, and let the humility reign in your heart. So my challenge to you, is to be a good tiny for a God bigger than it all. -Faith E.
  • As I’ve said, accountability is huge to me. Covenant has been a great resource in finding people for that, and I couldn’t be more thankful for this. -Tommy R.
  • And if in this unforeseeable future I find myself either lost or confused, looking for a path to follow, I will just stop and remember this moment (or should I say these moments all throughout high school). And with all that being said, my final word to you after four years of happiness, sadness, joy, confusion, friendship, and laughter is thanks. -Connor
  • You throw your cap high into the air, a smile spreading across your face.
    A new chapter has begun and you are excited, but you never forget everything that you have learned. Again, you are a freshman and are ready to face the world. -Josiah

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” Andy Bernard says that in the final episode of The Office as he talks about how at last he has his dream job and is where he has always wanted to be in life, but he’s still looking back into the past. If you’ve seen the episode, you know he says this from a place of bittersweet reflection. As he talks about how he wishes he was back with his old friends at Dunder Mifflin, there are a few seconds of voiceover where you see Andy from a few years back having fun writing a theme song for the company with other employees.

I’d chosen that Office quote as my senior quote like a year before we needed to submit them, and I was 100% sure that I would be the person to get ahead of Andy. I was going to realize that I was in the “prime of my life”, or whatever, and soak up every ounce of every experience I had in high school. I’d remember all the little things, the bus or car rides to and from volleyball games, the way it felt to reach a new PR in fitness with everyone standing around and cheering, or the smell of the hallway when the weather is nice. I also wanted to remember the bad things, because I believe that the negative is an equally important part of the human experience. I wanted to remember how it felt plateau in fitness and not see any progress, to be ignored by someone close to me for newer, more exciting friends, how it felt to be heartbroken and not know how to fix it. I knew that while my happiest moments would be the ones I’d naturally look back on, these less joyful things were the things that would shape me into the person I am becoming. Regardless, I tried to take in everything as it was happening, and, when I could, put my phone down or take my earbuds out and be aware of my surroundings, because I knew they were temporary.

And then, Senior year, there was Worldview. I latched on to this idea of “status viatoris”, which means that we are constantly becoming. If I am becoming, then I am being made into something else, which means there is something shaping me. The Sunday School answer is that Jesus is and was shaping me, of course, but so were the people and events. This only strengthened my need to take in the world around me, because not only will it be the eventual reason for my nostalgia, but it’s also forming me into my future and current self. “I’m in the good old days!” my subconscious screamed at me every time I was tempted to check out-out of boredom or discomfort. I saved tons of photos and videos to my Snapchat memories, posted on all forms of social media (partially so my followers could see, but more so that I could look back at everything), I wrote things down, I made playlists for different people and situations, I kept my Polaroid in my car just in case something SO aesthetically pleasing or memorable were to happen that I needed to take a physical photo.

These last two weeks of high school, I’ve become more organized (temporarily, of course) with my memory hoarding. I’ve typed out everything I could remember about my day onto a google doc. This way, I can capture the emotion and the details while they’re happening. Unfortunately, I’ve had a rude awakening as I’ve written down all the details of my last days here, and that is that I can’t remember everything about the good old days no matter how hard I try. The other day, I sat alone in a hot classroom with the windows open, writing about the period I’d just come from. And as I sat there, for the first time, I paid attention to the kids outside laughing and yelling as they threw around a frisbee. I listened to the people in the hallway talking to each other. I felt the gentle breeze on my skin. And I thought, wow, all of this has been here four years, and here I am with 6 days left, noticing it for the first time.

I don’t want to live my life on my phone, or in my own little world, or significantly removed from reality at all, really. I so badly want to be able to look back and remember the music and the food and the smells and moments and things and classes and most importantly the people that I loved. But I also don’t want to spend all of my time recording things so that I live my life just looking back. I was so desperate to keep track of the stuff I thought that other people would overlook that I made myself constantly worried about remembering. I wish now that I would have found that happy medium sooner, so that I could gain a little more than just pictures and words. So I guess my advice, or maybe my reminder to you is this. Pay attention and participate in the world around you. Don’t take for granted the smaller opportunities sitting in front of you today. You might not be living your dreams out or achieving your goals just yet, but there is more value and more substance in your life now than you could ever take in at once. Just make sure you spend more time experiencing than you do documenting, and most of all remember that these are your good old days, thank you for being a part of mine.”

-Laine Butler