Class of 2019 Valedictorians’ Addresses
On Friday, May 17, the Class of 2019 heard from Julia Amato ’19 and Mimi Klahr ’19, Valedictorians, at Senior Night. Here are their remarks.
Julia Amato’s Remarks
Good evening Class of 2019, parents, families, faculty and staff,
People always look at me weirdly when I tell them I would love another year at MICDS. But it is true. I love this class and school so much, and my dream all year was to be a “super senior” (AKA a “fifth year”) next year. Then I realized I would have to be with the grade below us. Also, I didn’t really know how my parents and college counselor would feel about this. So, I finally decided I guess I would go to college. And I have an idea of how I can try to fulfill my dream of staying here, but I will get back to that at the end.
Even though I cannot stay, I have realized that I always need to see the beauty that is present in front of me. As the Dalai Lama said, “The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for all goodness.” Or, as the great MICDS alum Sterling K. Brown says, “always have an attitude of gratitude.” After all, I do think that the key to happiness is gratitude, and MICDS has given us all so much to be grateful for. We have awesome teachers and an outstanding class. We have distinguished scholars, state champions, exceptional artists and performers and one-of-a-kind friendships among all of us. MICDS brought us all together, and I am so grateful and proud to be a part of this class.
Together, we have created a strong foundation for the rest of our lives. We made it through the visual essay, ALT and 9th grade science where my robot malfunctioned and I had to chase it through STEM while all of the seniors watched and laughed from their glass classrooms. We managed to get a few more lunches off campus than we were supposed to. We also all got to go to homecoming games together, Prom and Touch of Nature where we found rat skulls in our cabins. I would never want to do it with another group of people. I am so grateful that I got to go through all of these times, good or not so good, with this class.
I am confident that as we all move on to college, we will continue to be grateful for the amazing opportunities and people that will be in our lives. My gratitude for this school and class is infinite as you have prepared me for any challenge. And even more, I know that every single one of you is ready to take on anything you want. I know right here we have a room full of future revolutionary scientists, world-class athletes, famous actors and so much more. So take advantage of every moment. Be confident in everything you do. Do not forget to appreciate all of the opportunities you will meet in the future, and do not forget to be grateful for the basis that MICDS and this class has given all of us in order to be successful. Above all, though, I am most grateful for you guys, the lifelong friends that MICDS has given me.
Back to my idea from the beginning. Since I do not think another year at MICDS is going to work out, I have another idea. I will go to college, soak up everything that it has to offer, and then I will be back. Watch out Mr. Rainey, because I have my eyes on Ms. Lyles’ current position as head of school.
I guess what I am saying is, thank you for giving me, so far, the best years of my life. I will be forever grateful!
Thank you, faculty and staff, parents, families and most of all, thank you Class of 2019.
Mimi Klahr’s Remarks
A week before my first day of 7th grade, I made my sister draw me a map. A map of MICDS. I’ve never really been able to remember directions and still end up driving around in circles and passing turns to places I’ve been multiple times before. But in August of 2013, I was desperate to figure it out. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work.
On my first day at MICDS, afraid of walking to my next class alone, I found someone also heading to the drama building, and we walked out of the main hallways where all my other classes were and down a driveway we thought led to drama class. After a couple of minutes of being very lost, we realized we were late to class and there were no other students around. After trying the same code about 100 times to get back into a building, we finally accepted that we were locked outside. So, we sat on the steps for a good 15 minutes that felt more like an hour and discussed the many horrible things that would definitely happen to us whether or not we ever got back inside: kidnappings, angry teachers, etc.
That was the moment we were saved by our unlikely hero, a man who worked in the cafeteria who happened to open the back door to the lunchroom and agreed to lead us to the drama building, leaving us to placate our teacher and sit through the second half of our class.
Somehow, high school has been filled with moments in which I’m just as lost as I was that first day of middle school. I’ve pretty much figured out how to get to class, but I can’t remember our schedule, and I can’t get anywhere except school and home without using Google Maps. There have been so many moments when a project or essay left me so confused the night before it was due, when a lesson in chemistry didn’t make sense even after I had asked Mr. Little to repeat himself for the tenth time, or when I couldn’t remember when to start the 31 steps in the May Day dance. My first APUSH summary paper. Spanish tertulias. ALT. Choosing a major and finding a job and imagining the immense changes that college will bring still leave me feeling like I have nothing figured out.
But even though I sometimes still feel like that little 7th grader who got lost on her first day, high school has taught me to no longer be afraid of that feeling. What MICDS has made me realize that day and almost every day since is that everyone needs help with something. That’s ok. It’s fine to be confused and undecided and unsure of what’s going to happen. There will be people like the man who opened the door for me in the Middle school Cafeteria and all the people who have done the same since, who have taken the time to help us all through these impossible-to-understand moments and impossible-to-make decisions about the future: Mr. Rappleye who made sure I’d remember the liminal process forever, Senora Ashman who always gave us polvo magico before tests, Mr. Nelson who never counted me late A period, my college counselor who let me turn in my common app essay a month late, my friends who stayed up with me all night to finish ALT, and all of you who went through it with me.
I’ve learned that no matter how hard you work to memorize a map of your new school, you will run into some other problem like locked doors. These unexpected obstacles help us learn: I never forgot the code after that day.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that we all got through high school together, with help from each other and from teachers and family and so many other people that allowed us to succeed. Don’t be afraid of the moments where you’re lost—they’re when you learn, and know that wherever we go next, everyone will still need help. We’re going to feel lost a lot, but there will always be someone there able to recognize that you need help and willing to give it. Sometimes that person will be you.