By David Strickland '19
I was sitting at my computer at 2:00 AM writing this speech. It was not the night after a big game or a dance where you would expect me to have been awake this late. It was a normal Thursday night. I had AP Spanish in less than seven hours. So why, you’re probably wondering, was I writing my speech then?
Randolph has truly allowed me to form a deep relationship with learning.While on the surface it may seem that I was simply not budgeting my time wisely, the true meaning runs much deeper. I spent the hour prior to writing this speech engaged in deep conversation with my lifelong friend, Nicholas. In addition to updating each other on our college search processes, we also told funny stories from the past. I reminded him of the time that someone put aluminum foil in one of the microwaves at the Drake campus, resulting in a small explosion. He was quick to respond with the time that he and two of our classmates got infractions in Washington, DC for not reporting to a meeting on time. I know that our relationship is close because not only do we interact during the day, but we are also willing to sacrifice our own valuable sleep to talk to one another at night.
The kind of passion that Randolph students have to learn new information and the lengths they are willing to go to achieve this goal are unmatched.Up until this year, Sachin and I have taken nearly identical courses. As a result, we shared many of the same homework assignments. When each of these classes would stockpile their assignments all together at one time, we shared many consecutive late nights of work together. First, one could say that Randolph has truly allowed me to form a deep relationship with learning. The numerous nights I have spent slaving over a biology textbook or calculus labs show just how dedicated I am to learning the material. The kind of passion that Randolph students have to learn new information and the lengths they are willing to go to achieve this goal are unmatched. Equally as important, I have bonded with my classmates over our shared displeasure for working so late. Sure, we each probably could have gone to bed an hour earlier had we just completely focused on our work. Instead, I can stand here before you today and tell you with no regrets that we were constantly sending each other SpongeBob memes or funny GIFs to provide a little comic relief. The fits of laughter that Sachin forced me into—and I hope I forced him into as well—certainly are worth more to me than a few extra hours of sleep.
Another memory that comes to mind was in the seventh grade when Blake came over to my house to spend the night after a middle school band trip to Nashville. We got back around 11:00 PM and were both tired from a long day of activities. That did not stop us from playing NBA 2K on the Xbox for the next four hours. And I may have beaten him once if I was lucky! Despite my lack of success, I was willing to stay up late into the night to spend time with Blake. While some may argue that playing video games negates the significance of this interaction, I strongly disagree. While I do enjoy video games, I have never once stayed up until 3:00 AM playing them alone. This proves that I stayed up that late and gave up my sleep not because of my relationship with video games but because of my relationship with Blake.
Keeping my word and treating others with respect are core values that will be useful in life far beyond the classroom.
I bring up these memories that are important to me because without Randolph, we would not have all of these common memories to bond over and undoubtedly would not be as close as we are today. I feel that these relationships are elevated to another level thanks to our school’s honor system. Integrity is important to me because keeping my word and treating others with respect are core values that will be useful in life far beyond the classroom.
These friends I am telling you about feel the same way I do. The fact that we have a system in place to enforce this concept makes the relationships formed at Randolph more meaningful. The people I mentioned in the stories above are more than just friends. We have bonds where I can trust that they have my back and will do what is in my best interest, and they expect the same out of me.
I have been a member of the Honor Council for the past four years and am serving as president this year. While it has been extremely difficult to preside over my peers during past cases, this is a burden I am happy to undertake to support the honor system which is so important to the identity of Randolph as well as the close-knit, long-lasting friendships that it fosters.
Find people with whom you can form true relationships.
My advice to you, seniors, is this: take these important values we have learned here and find people with whom you can form true relationships. Not just people that will meet you for breakfast in the morning or come over to your house to hang out in the afternoon. But people like Nicholas, Sachin, Blake, and many others who would be willing to give up their sleep for you. People that feel you are so important that they will sacrifice something they desire or even need just to be with you. As we all embark on a new chapter of our lives at college next year, find friends that respect you and the values we have held so highly at Randolph and care enough about you to stay up into the middle of the night simply talking to you. And, no matter how far away you go or what you end up doing, never forget those same kinds of relationships that you formed here.