Senior Awards Night: May 20, 2013
Department Award: My academy advisor selected me for the academy’s department award. He opened with this:
This student’s one goal in life is to take over the world.
The whole speech was poking fun at him and the academy being “minions” to my “path to world domination” and how “everyone should now down”; how type A I am, the blood-sweat-tears I’ve put in, my 2 term presidency…and of course, that I “wear high heels most often of any female student he knows”. He also said how the academy was essentially my baby: and made an analogy of how babies are messy and seem always upset but how at my final meeting, there was an “aww” (that he cued the audience tonight to do) about me leaving; how that was like seeing one’s child finally smile. I couldn’t have asked for a more personal, ridiculous, hilarious, speech and award.
CSF (California Scholarship Federation Lifetime Sealbearer Member) was awarded to around 50 other wonderful people and let’s be honest, that’s a gorgeous sash for graduation. :)
Eagle Award. The finale of the night, it was introduced by the MC as an award to recognize the “most well rounded of PG”. Students who were high achieving academically, student athletes, well involved in community service, leadership, clubs, school events; many different mixes of the bunch. (There is teacher nomination, an application, review of app by a panel, student vote and teacher vote). This year, the top 12 of these were denoted the “Eagle Award” and medal, and the top/highest scoring awardee is recognized and wins the $500 scholarship (or as he said, “book money”). He called up the twelve alphabetically, and then said he wanted to read from the “winning”/top Eagle application to demonstrate what the award culminates. He started reading the list of activities, and with the very first listing: GATE Club president, I/we/all realized it was me…OMG THE FEELS. He kept reading, and (bear with me) the reactions (oohs, “oh my gosh”, general “woah”) from the audience just got to me. I kept biting my lip and looking down/avoiding audience eye contact, laughing a little.
He then went on to read one of the short answers. I thought he would read the one prompted “Why should you win the eagle award?” which was a summary and nod to all areas of the school’s strengths, but then he read:
Just after the first quarter of my junior year, my mother suffered a major health crisis. I was home with just my younger siblings, when she fainted, fell, fractured her skull, and suffered subdural hematoma in her brain. I called 911. I panicked to the operator. I dealt with the three terrified children, the firefighters and paramedics, the rude ER nurse, the family and friends calling. I stayed nights in the hospital, days in her room feeding her, talking to her, helping her walk. I slept no more than three hours at a time for weeks. All of this: weeks and months spent in such a new way of life was taxing, and I will always remember Dr. Blaker advising me to slow down, to avoid burning out. The whole situation left me drained and spread thin, and I hit my lowest grades ever (including one “C”). But I accept full responsibility. Just as I take much responsibility for helping my whole family adjust to our new life with my mother’s accident, and responsibility to nurse her when she would let no one else do so, I take full responsibility for my own well-being, and fluctuations of my grades. I could have asked for extensions and grade bumps, but those would not depict how I did in the class - which is the meaning of a grade. They may tell how I “would” or “should” have done, but it would not be accepting what I had gone through. By taking responsibility, I did not blame anyone - fate, my teachers, my mother, nor myself - for my grades, but took it as a factor in my life, a variable among the many in my life.
He made a pause halfway, saying he could stop there and that would be remarkable enough, but continued to read about the claim to responsibility. Needless to say, I was not at all prepared…and I started crying (err, tearing up). In front of the crowd. Ah!
After the newspaper photographer took the group photo of 12 awardees, he said to me that what the MC read from my application had inspired him, that it made his day and his week. He said of all the awards tonight, and the awards at all the schools he’s been to (“and I’ve been to six!” he said), mine got to him, that it was very respectable and inspiring.
It’s weird finally seeing everything I’ve done in high school be summarized with tonight’s events. Thanks for wild four years, Pleasant Grove.