I am really honored and flattered to be asked to speak again this year. It’s always a pleasure for me to fabricate heady rhetoric. So, thanks guys. But actually, you know, after they asked me to speak, I went to them - maybe it was just Kiran, and I asked him who he would really like to speak, and he said Steve Buscemi, of course. I found Mr. Buscemi on americanspeakers.com and there was a form to request him as a speaker - the lowest fee you could offer was $5,000, so I offered that and added a note that really I was really only offering $250. We didn’t get a response. So you’re stuck with me.
So, when I was working on this yesterday at school one of our youngest students approached me and asked if he could help, and I accepted the offer, and I’m going to begin with his contribution:
"Here ye, here ye, I am a pirate. You will be missed. Maybe see you on a visiting week."
Alright. Here we are: you’re about to graduate. Though, it’s a little weird to even call it “graduation” here, isn’t it? Because - as we all know - at this school the curriculum is responsibility and the method is freedom, and so the content of what a student actually does here - what they “work on” - is different for each one; and ultimately, the curriculum is just their own person, their own genius.
So - what does it mean to graduate here? The transcripts we give you say that really only you can tell us. When I was thinking about this I was reminded of a passage from the prologue to East of Eden by John Steinbeck, which I read over and over again in high school. (I have done some slight editing to bring Mr. Steinbeck up to date politically.) Goes like this: A [person], after [they] have brushed off the dust and chips of [their] life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?”