Maple's Speech copy
Maple Silverstein - Graduation Address - June 10, 2020
“Even monkeys fall from trees.” This quote has always stuck with me. Ever since Mrs. Wolk wrote it on the board in fifth grade and asked who wanted to interpret it. I immediately shot up my hand and said: “It means that no matter how skilled you are at something, you will still make mistakes.” I’m not sure I said it quite right, but I definitely understand it’s full meaning now. It means that you might be a child prodigy, or someone who is so skilled at something that no one could ever top you, but that doesn’t mean that when you make a mistake, and by accident mess up, you should quit. Instead, the right thing to do is to dust yourself off and get ready for the next try. This is how I will use my expertise from what I have learned at Brandeis. I have already climbed this tree. I made it to the top, and that is why I am here today. But now it is time for me to gather up all my monkey strength and take a leap to the next tree. And if I fall, I can always pull myself back up the Brandeis tree for help and try again.
The energy that keeps me going as I climb has been fueled by friendship. I have made loyal and understanding friends on this climb that I will always remember. In Israel, some of my favorite moments were when we were all just sitting on the bus at night and singing songs really loudly. Just being surrounded by all my friends made me feel so lucky. I also really enjoyed Hezekkiah’s tunnels. These tunnels were filled with knee-high freezing cold water. I am very claustrophobic, but knowing that I was not alone as we trudged through the tunnels singing songs at the tops of our voices made it so much better. I am so grateful that we got to go on that trip, because I really grew closer to my class. Although a good portion of the friends I have made at Brandeis were in my class, you can always learn from those at different points in their climb, like through the eighth grade-kindergarten buddy program.
My three most prominent thoughts about my eighth grade buddy when I was in Kindergarten were you are huge, this is awkward, and I am scared of you. Now that I am in eighth grade, and I have my own buddy, Tyler, I can’t wait to go play! Honestly, sometimes when the buddies aren’t out, my friends and I just don’t even know what to do with ourselves! We even continue to play hide and seek or dinosaurs even though our buddies aren’t there. I guess I have really matured throughout Brandeis.
Not everyone at Brandeis has the same views. Some believe in God, others don’t. Some hate raisins, others love them. But no matter what you believe in, we are taught to embrace other’s views and welcome them into our community. I have heard the saying “monkey see monkey do”, but the monkeys that climb the Brandeis tree do not follow this old saying. We strengthen each other by being unique and having different views on how to scale a challenge. So even if someone in your class is widly different from you, the social structure of the small school encourages you into developing a deeper understanding of each other and creating strong bonds.
They say when you are climbing high, don’t look down. I didn’t really look back at my years at this school until I made it to the final branch. Now that I see how far I have come, I feel proud, and ready to move on, no matter how hard it is to leave.