Alex Kiefer '06

Student Commencement Remarks

June 2, 2006


Good morning and welcome, Mr. Baldecchi, Ms. MacCarthy, Board members, family members, and faculty. I am proud to introduce to you to my friends, the graduating class of 2006. First of all, I would like to recognize the faculty members who are retiring and extend a special thank you to them: Ms. Eames, Mrs. Barker, Mrs. Beers, Mr. Hardesty, and Mr. Brost. I want to thank everyone who helped all of us to make it through eighth grade and through TLS, especially the teachers who pushed us to the limits of our abilities and encouraged us to pursue our dreams. I also wish to thank all of our parents; you have sacrificed more than we can imagine, and we are grateful.

As I am finishing my tenth year here at TLS, I can't help but to remember my preschool years. Those were the innocent years. The years of playing in the sandbox, climbing on the monkey bars, and shooting on a four-foot hoop. Dressing up as a princess or a Power Ranger, carrying around a blanket or a stuffed animal, and crawling through the tire tunnel in the little playground. Although those years were simple and pleasant, it is necessary to look back on those years and remember how it felt to be a kid. A quotation from The Wonder Years stood out to me: “Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” By reflecting on the preschool and grade school years at TLS, we can recall the value of the memories that TLS has given us.

I came to TLS in Pre-K. When I try to think back to that year, one of the only things that I can remember is Halloween. Ms. Beers arrived at school in a Mother Goose outfit. Ms. Russo had pinned or taped purple balloons to her clothing, put a green piece of felt on her head, and had turned herself into a bunch of grapes. I came as a bear—Winnie the Pooh, I've been told. Several girls were princesses, but hey, I've never been one to follow the crowd. Even so, the array of costumes was outstanding. I can remember this, and remember that we are all different, just like the costumes. My individual memories of my classmates are unique. Everyone is special to me in his or her own way, and TLS has helped to increase our respect and our friendship towards one another. Even though we are all different, we all have the same basics, background, and concrete foundation—TLS.

Kindergarten and First Grade are full of even more memories. Candy houses were a big deal. I remember icing the graham crackers, decorating the yard with a mirror pond and some trees, and lining the roof with peppermints and gumdrops. Then I was finished. Eagerly parading the house among my friends and family, I was proud to have created such a wonderful structure. Today, I will be finishing my years at TLS. While I am sad at the prospect, I am also excited. Excited at highschool and what's yet to come, yes, but also the fact that I have gotten through TLS. Made it through the exams and the papers and the speeches—well, almost. I will be eager to show off the TLS experience because it was a unique experience. Not only did my candy house seem beautiful and complicated, but my years at TLS seem that way too.

Second and Third Grade were large parts of the growing up process. The part where boys are smelly and no one has braces even though you have a large gap in your teeth. We learned about different countries, by making rain sticks and icecream and drums and journals. We learned about the Native Americans and their houses by making our own miniatures. We learned cursive and how to multiply and divide. I learned the importance of reading and words, by writing in a daily journal and by completing summer reading. The major thing that I have learned from looking back is how valuable our school is. Not any school could teach you these things in such a unique way. Rarely has a textbook been used on a daily basis in all ten years that I have been here. This unique style of teaching enhances the learning process greatly, and it also makes the memories that I have here rich and deep.

A memory is a wonderful thing. It can make you cry, smile, laugh, become mad, or wish. Some people wish that their life could be as simple as it was when they were five or six. I do as well. But I mostly hope that my life will continue to follow that path that TLS has started. A path only bound for success if I do everything that this school has taught me. I would now like to introduce Maggie Wilson, who will be discussing our fourth and fifth grade years.

Thank you.