Whitefield Academy Blog

Whitefield Academy Salutatorian Address 2020

by | Aug 6, 2020 | Education, Graduation, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The following address was given at Whitefield Academy’s 2020 Commencement Ceremony by Caitlin Dugan, salutatorian of the class of 2020.

Thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate this accomplishment. We wouldn’t be here today without the unique impact this community has had on us. I’m not sure how many seniors can say their schools spent over four hours driving around the KC metro area just to make sure their seniors were celebrated. Thank you also to the 6th grade class for the chalk art. It was so fun and we all loved it so much. This year has been far from what any of us graduates planned, but each of you made us feel so loved and special, so thank you for that!

It’s honestly quite surreal to be standing here today. There were many times, this year included, that I didn’t know if this day would ever come. But through every up and down we had as a class, there were teachers and staff members here who never gave up on us. I would like to take the next few moments to try and thank the teachers and staff for all they have done for us.

First of all, to the office ladies, thank you for always being there. You listened to us, hugged us when we cried, and were always an unending supply of non-prescription drugs. Thank you also for letting me possibly spend more time in the office than in rhetoric class. Sorry, Mr. Selby.

Next, I have to thank our lower school teachers. You all taught us how to read and write. You gave my class a bunch of random fun facts about Greek myths and the Medieval time period. Dr. Schuler taught us how to play recorder and actually enjoy it. You also taught us how to use our imaginations to make stories come alive. I don’t think any of us will forget the stories of First and Second Samuel, thanks to 5th grade Bible skits. Also, in case any of you are wondering, the prophet Samuel’s favorite song was “Rudolph” and they definitely sang it at his funeral. Thank you lower school teachers for giving us a foundation for the rest of our Whitefield careers.

Walking into the first day of 7th grade did kind of feel like being thrown into the lions’ den, but we quickly began to realize the teachers didn’t want to make us cry every day, even if Dr. Mac did throw my water bottle out of the classroom. The teachers actually wanted to teach us and they wanted us to succeed. They may have all taught us different subjects, but they were united in pushing us to be the people God has created us to be.

Mrs. DeConink is the only person I know who can spend an entire class period talking about the beauty of God found in calculus. It’s pretty neato, right Mrs. DeConink?

Mr. Metcalf taught most of us how to love a dead language, and sometimes we even got to talk about the dead language over a cup of Second Best Coffee. None of us will forget one of our last in-person classes when Mr. Metcalf FINALLY took us to get Greek food.

Mrs. Evans may have taught two of us Spanish, but she taught all of us how to have fun even while doing math. I so wish we could have taken on L.A. together, but I’m so glad we were able to get pictures together at Disneyland.

I know people say that the Dos Xs man is the World’s Most Interesting Man, but I think that title actually belongs to Mr. Laney. He taught us how to see the glory of God through all good things coming in three. He gave us a deep love for Italian ice and bocce ball on the green.

Mr. Peng, I don’t know how I’m going to survive college chemistry when it is not taught by the nicest human being. You pushed us in chemistry and precalculus and we are better students because of it.

Mr. Appling taught us how to be art critics, but he also cared deeply about us. Friday morning Appling Coffee at Second Best was a highlight. Thank you also for the Korean tacos in Chicago. Sorry we complained about it on the entire way there.

Mr. Wampler, you’re welcome for being your guinea pig rhetoric class. Thank you for being a tough grader. We are better writers because of you.

Miss Nichols brought life and energy to biology and American history. Sometimes American history is just done better over Chick-fil-A breakfast. Also may we never forget the day I called you “mom” in a movie theater and may we also never forget that you responded without missing a beat.

Mr. Castro was never officially our teacher, but he spent so much time getting to know us anyway. He’s also the most likely to make one of us cry.

Mrs. Theiss was never officially our teacher either, but she fostered leadership in many of us and we’re thankful for that.

Mr. Selby taught us how to have civil discussions over literally any topic. I didn’t know people could have multiple discussions over the Second Treatise on Light, but here we are. He also showed us the beauty of rhetoric when seen in light of our triune God.

Dr. McIntosh, or better know as Mr. Dr. Coach Mac to us, was always there to pick us up when we fell, figuratively and sometimes literally off the soccer field, right Rylie? He was there to listen to us and laugh with us, though sometimes at us. He’s also the only person I know who can keep a joke alive for six years, but here we are on graduation day and I still don’t know if Cozette is a Lutheran or not.

But above all else, every single teacher care about us, not only about us as students, but us as people. I’m fairly sure all of them have seen me cry, because they cared so deeply about what was going on in my life. We are better people because of the relationships we had with each teacher. Thank you for pouring into us and investing in us.

And finally, a word to my class: you all are the best. I have loved every single moment we have spent together. I will cherish every single memory we share together. There’s no one else I would rather call my classmates and friends. I cannot wait to see where the Lord takes you!

Thank you again to everyone for celebrating with us tonight. Welcome to graduation!

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