Patricia Kolakowski’s 2018 Graduation Address

patricia kolakowski graduation

An Attitude of Gratitude

Thank you Mr. Buyarski for that introduction. I am absolutely honored to be standing here today and speaking to you, the Class of 2018. I’m usually much better at winging things like this, essays, speeches…my entire high school career, so writing this in advance was somewhat of a struggle. Needless to say, the week leading up to this was filled with fragments of a great speech, several drafts and quite a few sleepless nights. But what better way is there to end high school?

I would like to start off by saying thank you to everyone who was able to make it today – whether you’re here virtually or physically. Your support – and I believe I say this for everyone – means the world to us graduates. I also want to thank all the people who made this year’s live graduation possible. Mr. Buyarski, Mrs. Lengyel and especially thank you to one of our fellow students, Elaina McCormick, for getting the ball rolling and helping organize this event. Love you girl. I want to thank all of our teachers for really getting us to this moment. Thank you for filling our brains with knowledge and our classes with fun.

I want to especially thank Mrs. Crawford for instilling a love of literature in each and every one of us and making classics fun…except The Waste Land I don’t think anyone can make that poem fun. Most importantly, thank you for accepting our late homework or extending deadlines even though you must have known we procrastinated until the last minute, but I guess it was a two-way street with the procrastination so it all worked out in the end.

I have one personal thank you to extend to my oldest sister. I want to thank her for being there to check my very first high school essays, for being there for me at any moment even though she was miles away and for proctoring my exams when no one else could. You are the best older sister anyone could ask for. I would like to also thank the friends that I have made through Kolbe Academy. Rosa, Em, Kemi, Anna, Ashley, Annie and Lanie, you guys have been a blessing in my life and I’m so happy that we were able to share this part of our lives with each other. I can’t wait to virtually experience all of your college adventures with you.  Lastly, I want to thank our parents, who support us every step of the way, except when we’re being really stupid, then they bring us down to earth. Without these people, we wouldn’t be standing here today ready to face whatever the world has in store for us.

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

When I was younger, I dreamed of the day that I would graduate high school. I had a college list made up since probably eighth grade. I had my major picked out and a career path chosen. I was going to be a psychologist who worked with children and youth to help them figure out their place in the world and help the future generations one small step at a time. I wanted to get a head start and make sure I knew what the heck I was doing the second I got out of high school.

I stand here today as a business major, going to a school I never believed I would and not really knowing what the future has in store for me. In between eighth grade and now, there has been several sleepless nights, one horrible essay, and a lot of uncertainty. As we neared the beginning of our senior year, I was scared that I was going to choose the wrong school or the wrong major. Just between August 2017 and October 2017 my college list changed at least 10 times and I didn’t know what college I was going to until March of this year.

The point I’m trying to make is that you don’t know what life will throw at you, and that’s scary. In the coming years there will be days where you may feel like everything is going wrong. There will be days where you will be scared out of your mind because if you don’t pass that stupid English class you might have to take it again and you’re a science major for crying out loud! Why do you need English???

Best Wishes on the Future

In times like these, where stress levels are at an all-time high and college just seems totally not worth it anymore, it’s important to remember how far you’ve come already. You made it through Kolbe Academy, one of the hardest homeschool programs among homeschoolers. You’ve survived high school in general. And if you stop now, you’re only moving backwards, and the goal is to constantly keep moving forward. So, when life gets tough, take a breath, pick yourself up and keep going. You can only go up from here.

So, Class of 2018, I know that whatever you choose to pursue, you will succeed. You are some of the most bright and smart people I have had the pleasure to experience high school with. I am so blessed and honored to have been a part of this year’s graduating class and I can’t wait to see where life takes you. I look forward to seeing you again at our class reunion a few years down the line, because we have graduation down, what’s stopping us from getting a reunion?

Thank you and congratulations Class of 2018!