Claire Banks - Graduation Address - June 10, 2020
I came to Brandeis in 5th grade and what a gift that was. At my previous school, 3rd and 4th grade were really difficult for me. I don’t know why but I was a “late reader”. I could tell that other kids were sailing through reading but I had trouble. And as I started to grow up it was clear I needed more help. So my parents decided that maybe I should find a new school that would support me more.
I will never forget my shadow day at Brandeis. Adults greeted me with kindness, attention, and love. Teachers HUGGED me at Brandeis, no teacher had ever hugged me at school. And I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal but it really was to me.
I remember meeting my classmates on my shadow when we were in fourth grade. Stepping into the fourth-grade classroom was different than any other class I had ever been in. Everyone was talking, working, and overall just having fun.
Ms.Duffy asked if I wanted to be a part of the project they were working on and I nervously agreed. The project was to create a ‘Candy Graph’; we had to walk around the room and ask people what their favorite candy was, and then put it in a graph. I liked this idea, because I like candy and I like people, and l like talking to people ABOUT candy...and as most of you know, I pretty much just like talking.
Then…. I stepped into the music room... and again, my mind was blown. It was filled with instruments, and music, and kids actually singing a modern song.
Not only do I remember most of the details of my shadow day, but I’ll also always remember the warmth and kindness Pamala and the rest of the Brandeis community showed me from the first moment I stepped on campus.I will take with me this warmth and kindness for the rest of my life.
Now that these four years are over I have been reflecting on things I have done at Brandeis. From learning PERSUASIVE ESSAYs in Ms.Wolks class, to building at home Rube Goldberg machine which tested my family's sanity, and now our graduation speeches these four years have been so amazing and I so much fun.
Thank you for welcoming me with open arms from the moment I got here and thank you for supporting me through these four years. From laughter and joy to the amazing music program and pasta day. Thanks for everything, Brandeis.