Student Graduation Address: Monnica Prudlo

We are delighted to present the speeches from our recent graduation ceremony. Check back at the blog over the coming days and weeks to read or listen to the speeches in the order in which they were delivered. Here is the first installment. 

The first student speaker was Monnica Prudlo, who both delighted and challenged the attendees. You can listen to her speech by clicking “play” below. 

Mrs. Lengyel, Mr. Buyarski and esteemed faculty and staff, thank you for making this event possible. You know, it’s funny. We never had a “normal high school experience”. By that I mean none of our friends who attended brick and mortar schools came out of high school with irrational fears of their microphones being left on, the internet cutting out while they took an exam, or worst of all, having adobe decide to kick you out for no reason and then never let you back in. Regardless, I think I can speak for all of us students here in saying that we are so grateful for the opportunity to have a live graduation. Everyone, please give the staff and faculty of Kolbe Academy a round of applause!

If there was one thing I kept thinking about while I was writing this speech, it was: “Wow! I can’t believe that I am graduating high school in 10 minutes!” It is phenomenal to finally meet many of you in person. Although until about an hour ago, I was worried that most of you were robots.

Regardless, we are about to embark on a great quest. All of us, whether we are following a religious vocation, going to college or taking a gap year, our lives are about to change dramatically. Suddenly, there will be no more discussion boards, no more Schoology due dates and no more trying to figure out that new schoology test format. These changes can be scary. And we are all about to enter a world where everything is changing, some things for the better and some not.

There are certain things that the world wants us to change, even though we shouldn’t. It’s during these times where we must remain strong in our faith. God put us on this Earth to know, love and serve Him, knowing that we must all be strong enough to make it through the struggles. All of these struggles are to help prepare us for the world that is beyond death. We must know when to be content and when to act with or against changes we will face. A good example of someone who embraced terrifying changes presented to him is Bilbo Baggins. If you thought I was going to make it through this speech without a Tolkien reference, you were wrong. I am a Kolbe student after all. In ​The Hobbit,​ Bilbo is perfectly content with how his life is unfolding. He has experienced no change or growth, instead he sits by his fireplace, smoking his pipe weed. Again, he is content, but I would argue that he is not happy. After he is dragged out of his abode and taken on a crazy adventure, he realizes that some change is not as bad as he had made it out to be. He goes from the bumbling Hobbit smoking a pipe to the brave, adventurous Hobbit who outwitted a dragon! At the end of the story, he is happy that he allowed himself to experience the change which was thrust on him just like it is about to be thrust on us. I think we can all learn a thing or two from Bilbo, at first he lived in denial about how his life would never change, then later he let himself experience the change, and became the person he was destined to be.

The tools which were given to us here at Kolbe can help us immensely with dealing with change. Every little skill that we have learned over our time here was preparing us in ways that we could have never expected. Every time we wrote a paper we were demonstrating our abilities to articulate our thoughts. Every in class discussion whether it was in Greek History or Physics helped us form good opinions about the world. I think we are all prepared for the world that lies ahead. I believe that we are all brave enough to face what comes next. And we should be thankful to our teachers who have prepared us for this very moment. Whether they held office hours, answered our unending emails or even just made us laugh. Right, Mrs. Powers? Because of the education and community we have been given, I think that we will be able to face our futures head on, without the fear of the change that lies ahead.

Let us be who we are meant to be, without being overcome by the fear of change. I would like to leave you with this quote, and don’t worry Literature teachers, I have textual support of who said it​ and M​LA format:

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

-St. Catherine of Siena
Thank you everyone who has been involved with our education at Kolbe Academy Online. Thank you to all of my classmates who kept me sane with memes during finals week. And a special thank you to my mom and dad who were forced to read this speech until I thought it was good enough. Congratulations again to the class of 2019.