Carly Beebe’s Senior Address Speech

“Ellen DeGeneres once said, ‘When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.’ Throughout our 13 years of school as the class of 2019, there have been times when we have failed and times when we have succeeded. When I think of our years together as a class, I think of the moments that have brought us here today. The moments when we learned from our failures and the moments when we were acknowledged for our victories. As I reflect on our years in this school district, I can not help but think of when I first learned how to ride a bike. Think about the first time you got on a bike. Do you remember attempting to ride and falling off over and over again? When our knees would hit the ground, we still found ourselves getting up to pedal again. Without taking the risk of getting back on the bike to try again, we would not have been successful with riding on our own. Riding a bike is much like going through the years of school to graduation because we are excited for what is new, we receive help as we learn, we use the tools around us to guide us, and then we learn to ride our bikes on our own.

Receiving your first bike is much like the first day of Kindergarten. Do you remember walking in the doors of Dewey School? We had our Crayola crayons, wide-ruled notebooks, and #2 pencils packed tightly in our backpacks. As we walked to our very first classroom, we saw kids sitting in the hallway reading books like Junie B. Jones and The Magic Tree House. From watching eggs hatch into chicks to crab walking in the gym with coach Kinen or throwing maple seeds like helicopters, Dewey school was far from boring. As little kids, we were excited for the new. Our first day at school was filled with new: new friends, new teachers, new books, new experiences. All of this new was so exciting to us, much like receiving a new bike. Although we had no idea how we were going to ride the bike, we knew that we were excited to try. In Kindergarten, we had no idea what we would learn or what to expect, but we were simply excited to find out.

Our next step to riding the bike was having help getting on. After leaving Dewey School, we went to Field School and then Central School, where we finished our years of elementary. When I reflect on elementary school, I remember time spent in the music room with Mr. Venner preparing for music concerts, the Missouri Marathon with Mrs. Cox, and our teachers working hard to teach us multiplication tables for our ice cream sundaes. In elementary school, we had a lot of support. We had multiple supports-- parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers-- who walked us through everything and made sure that we were learning. When something was wrong, there was always someone there to help us. Similarly, when we first learned to ride a bike, we had our parents or grandparents to hold on to the handlebars while we learned how to balance. Likewise in elementary school, we always had someone there to steady us through everything.

As we entered middle school in 2013, we no longer needed as much help as we did in previous years. In other words, we learned how to ride the bike with our training wheels. This was when our support systems let go of our handlebars. We were starting sports, trying new clubs, and joining the band. We had eight different teachers instead of one and even had pep assemblies. Do you remember those sweaty middle school dances in the commons where we danced to songs like “Call Me Maybe” or “Boyfriend” or the hard work we put into our science fair boards? At this point in our lives, we were riding our bikes on our own with our training wheels. Our parents and grandparents started to give us more freedom, and our teachers did too. We were learning how to ride the bike on our own and finding out who we were through the activities in which we participated. Middle school was an important transition into the time of our lives that we never thought would come - high school.

In high school, we finally knew how to ride our bikes without our training wheels. At this point in our lives, we were applying for colleges, staying in the clubs that mattered most to us, and competing even harder in the sports. We learned about ACT testing, intense pep rallies, and how Homecoming Week should really be celebrated. Not to mention the fact that there were 16 snow days this year that we do not have to make up. From Friday night lights to singing Bohemian Rhapsody at the end of every dance, our years of high school will never be forgotten. During high school, we knew how to ride our bikes, but we still had our support systems looking after us when we would fall off course. As we all go our separate paths, we no longer need someone holding onto our handlebars, nor do we need our training wheels to keep us balanced, or someone supervising us as we ride our bike. There are going to be times when it will be hard to pedal, when we will fail to keep our balance, and when we will fall and bruise our knees. However, the failure is not in falling, the failure is in not getting back up. If it weren’t for the times that we had fallen, we would never know the success of getting back on our bike and the joy of riding on our own. It is important that we learn from the times that we fall so that when we get back up, the success of staying on our bike feels that much better. Failing and being successful are two important components in the bike ride of life. We will forever be grateful for our time together as the senior class of 2019. Although it is time to start taking our own paths, we must remember where and how we learned to ride our bikes and why we should pedal even when it is hard."