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Vows of lifelong friendship at Leaving Class Dinner

John Gilchrist was elected by his peers to make this speech at the Leaving Class Dinner on Friday, May 23. (Jared Freedman was elected class president at the dinner.)

I surfed the Internet for hours to find an inspirational speech to rip off, but I couldn’t find one, so just, bear with me.

I’m here on behalf of the former Dyson hand dryer class of 2014. I was hoping to be here representing the Dyson hand dryer class of 2014, but now I hear that we’re donating Muskoka chairs for the quad. My entire speech was based on the Dyson hand dryers, so I’ve had to completely rework everything in the last few days.

I was hoping to talk about how we would have definitely gone down in history as the Leaving Class with the driest hands. Seriously, I had so many jokes about this, and there aren’t nearly as many funny things to talk about with the Muskoka chairs.

This is incredibly cheesy, but it’s the only segue from Muskoka chairs to UCC. One of the countless positive aspects of the Muskoka chairs is that when we lie back in them, we can look to the skies and contemplate all of our good times at the school.

So we all have our relationship with UCC; UCC has represented all-nighters, rehearsal, long practices, the relief of the end of fourth period on Friday, the weekend to follow or even the daily trip to Frybrook Road — for some, the tri-daily trip to Frybrook.

UCC has provided me and everyone around me with the opportunity to explore what we want to do and discover what type of people we want to be — principled, risk-takers, inquirers come to mind.

I think that UCC has encouraged us to try different things to find our passions. From the Prep to the Upper School and from sports to arts, I think I’ve seen the best that the school has to offer.

No, I don’t know as much about debating. I tried it but I wasn’t much good. I also don’t know much about computer science because numbers scare me — or really anything academic — but from what I’ve seen, UCC has undeniably given us a wide range of opportunities.

A teacher told me this a few weeks ago… I don’t actually know which teacher it was so if you told me this, I appreciate it. So anyway, he or she told me that while we’re at the school we don’t really realize how special it is, but as soon as we leave we find that we really miss it.

So I hope that over the next few days you can all think about your time here and what has made it special for you. Tonight and Monday are about us, the Class of 2014, and all of our experiences together, the bonds we’ve created and what we’ve achieved while at UCC.

Thinking hard about what I treasure most from my time at the College, I realized that it’s not the IB diploma, or really anything to do with school specifically. It’s that the friendships built over our time here are the most important thing we’ve done at this school — the guys in this room, the guys sitting beside you.

Someone in here might be your best man or maybe their sister is your future wife. These are the guys you’re going to travel across the world with, the ones you’re going to think about and smile about while remembering the effect they had on your life.

The Class of 2014 is a great one, and I truly believe this. It’s not something you can measure. Rather, based on what you can feel throughout the school, based on many things, I’d say this has been one of the most successful years in recent memory — not because of the victories in countless sports, Model UN, international debate competitions, successes of Nuit Blue, Arts Night and so on — but because of the true feeling of community and friendship at UCC. The Class of 2014 is hugely responsible for this.

Our year is tight-knit; excuse me for the generalization but drama geeks or jocks, shut-ins or socialites, gay or straight, we all support each other and we are a true brotherhood; no one walks alone in the Class of 2014.

We’ve reached the golden sky at the end of the storm, we’ve shaken Mr. Beaudoin’s hand and survived, and we’re ready to face new challenges.

It’s been a privilege to know you boys, and congratulations.

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