Caden Bernstein-Lawler – Graduation Address – June 9, 2021
The first time I entered Brandeis’ welcoming lobby was on my shadow day. A heavy fog covered the school, almost representing the stress I felt inside me. I came from a wonderful school, and my choices for middle school weighed on me: either a school in biking range where all those who I had known for years would be attending or Brandeis Marin. Upon my entrance, I was treated warmly by many friendly people. When I left, my choice for middle school was crystal clear. And since then, through the most enjoyable and challenging experiences, with the support of friends and teachers, I have grown so much as a person.
When I entered Brandeis for the second time, it was the beginning of my 6th grade year. I started knowing very few people, which certainly changed throughout the year. I learned to take opportunities and was given incredible support along the way. I joined both the student council and tefillah vaad, which I continued throughout my 3 years here. Those both taught me to be a leader, but I always knew that my classmates were always the pillars that supported me along the path of life. I never could have done anything without knowing that my class was behind me.
Then came 7th grade. A time in which I faced the rockiest roads of middle school. Navigating more complicated friendships and facing harder school work was stressful. But I always had a light from the teachers, who were always there to help me through the difficulties of learning algebra and a new language. And then, all the difficulties got worse when we all faced a pandemic. I became stressed, apart from my class, and I had to learn how to interact with others virtually. Yet, I learned a valuable lesson. The times that are hardest are the ones we grow most from. Afterward, I began to value my friendships so much more going into my next year.
Finally, 8th grade. Despite those experiences we missed, our class has still made the most of this year. On my last day of school, looking back, I have learned so much and I am glad I did it all with my classmates beside me.