On April 20, JCHS seniors with high academic standing gathered for the annual academic banquet at Mayfair Farms in West Orange. After a wonderful dinner, Joe Redling-Pace, ranked third in his class, addressed his peers, teachers, and administrators. The following is a transcript of his speech:
Before I start my actual speech I’d like to get the speech cliches we all know and love out of the way. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. Life is like a box of chocolates. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. And finally, YOLO.
Anyway, congratulations to everyone who is here tonight. We are academically the highest in our class and we are about to set off to college to blaze a path to our future. I could give some boring cliche speech about how high school has prepared us for the future and how I’ll miss James Caldwell High School. This is simply untrue, but wait until the end of my speech and I’ll explain why. People always say how high school is supposed to teach you good study habits, how to manage your time efficiently, and how to develop a strong work ethic. In most of our cases, including my own, the majority of our assignments were procrastinated until the last second. To be honest, this speech was written Monday night when I’ve known about this for at least a month, maybe two. My point is, we’re all teenagers who haven’t figured our lives out yet nor how to effectively and efficiently work on the tasks set before us. At least I hope not, or I’ve been doing something wrong all these years and I don’t think I should be the one giving this speech. I can put off learning that stuff until college…right?
As I stated previously, I won’t miss James Caldwell High School. I won’t miss my locker that has never been able to lock for four years. I won’t miss the “wonderful” food in the cafeteria, nor the crowded hallways. I won’t miss staying up late at night doing homework or studying for a test, and waking up the next day walking into school late like a zombie. What I will miss are the amazing people I met at this school. The faculty here is awesome. Especially the teachers. All of the teachers here tonight are here because they made an impact on our lives in some way, no matter how big or small. However, the people I will miss most are the students here, specifically my friends. In my case, my friends are a group of thirty or so that we affectionately, and accurately, call the Nerd Herd. I have never met such amazing, interesting, supportive, and many other adjectives that I couldn’t think of nor do you want to hear, people that I am glad to call my friends. I’ve made memories with them that I will never forget, and made traditions that will continue on throughout the future. Special shout out to Danksgiving, Holiday Jammin’, and our various group chat traditions. Though college may geographically separate us, I’m confident we’ll maintain our friendships for years to come. I’m sure all of you have some variation of this type of friendship, and I urge you to not let go of the genuine friendships you have made in high school. Okay, I’m breaking my no cliche rule. Time is fleeting, but friendships last forever.
To wrap up my speech, congratulations once again, good luck trying not to succumb to senioritis, and thank you.