Graduation Speech: A Letter to My Pre-K Buddy

Chaney Dalton, Class of 2015
June 5th, 2015

My very first memory at BDS is of my eighth grade partner, Kathryn, calling me to say happy birthday when I turned five. I remember how much that meant to me, and how much I looked up to her. I recently reached out to her for the first time in nine years over the phone. Talking about the times when I was a spunky little pre-ker makes me realize how far I’ve come these past ten years. Now I’m the older eighth grade partner, and I have my own pre-k buddy, Kate. She’s fun, silly, and kind and I love spending time with her. I hope I mean as much to her as my eighth grade partner did to me. I want Kate to have the next nine years go as smoothly as possible, so I wrote her this letter.

Dear Kate,

You have just completed your first year at BDS, and I have just finished my tenth and final year. I’ve learned a lot about myself and BDS in these past ten years and I’d like to share some of that knowledge with you. First, let me tell you that you’re going to make some unforgettable memories here. I’ll never forget the Read for Seeds marathon in second grade, the Greek Lunch in fourth grade, Freedom Night in sixth grade, and many, many, more. These experiences are ones you can count on, look forward too. But stay on your toes—there are also many unexpected moments, fun and crazy moments that I can’t prepare you for because they be unique to you and your class. Like the time I got hit in the face with an orange at the Chinese Dragon Assembly—nothing can prepare you for that.

There are many lessons I have learned here at BDS that I would like to share with you. First, remember that people change over ten years, especially when you meet at four years old. So give people second chances and branch out with your friends. In kindergarten Ariana and I fought so much, we were not allowed to play with each other at recess. Now she’s one of my best friends.

Also, enjoy the time you have here because it goes by so much faster than you would expect. It feels like just yesterday I was building sculptures with marshmallows and toothpicks in my pre-k classroom, and now it’s graduation day.

And Kate, enjoy nap time, because you’re really going to wish you had naptime in eighth grade.

Your experience at BDS is going to be like a rollercoaster. You’re going to have the ups—the great times. Some of my great times were the State Fair in third grade, being UNICEF chair in sixth grade, Capstone presentations, and more. But you’re also going to have to downs—the tough times—like the night before your Capstone presentation, which made me feel extremely nervous and anxious. But it’s going to be okay, because everyone else in your class will be going through it together, and so did the class before you, and so will the class after you. It’s part of the BDS experience we all have in common.

I also want to let you know what you’re going to miss, what I and the rest of my class are going to miss. I’m going to miss walking by Mr. Toppa’s room and having there constantly be music to brighten everyone’s day. I’m going to miss walking by the kitchen and smelling the chefs cooking my favorite meal—which obviously is breakfast for lunch. I’m going to miss being part of a BDS sports team, especially the feeling at the end of a season when I feel like my team and I have really come together. I’m going to miss being part of a play or musical, particularly in seventh and eighth grade. It’s a great feeling being able to perform beside all your best friends.

But most of all, you’re going to miss the people. Of course you can visit them, but you're going to miss being able to see your friends every single day. You’re going to miss chasing them around the playground in elementary school. You’re going to miss playing foursquare and 5000, and making obstacle courses through Big Blue.

You’re even going to miss your teachers. It may not feel like you’re going to miss your teachers when they’re giving you hours and hours of homework, or they don’t let you sit next to your best friend because you’re “talkative.” But I’m still going to miss them, and so will you, Kate. I’m going to miss Mr. Spencer playing the banjo, Mrs. Holman reading Greek myths, Ms. Zaval singing to us on our way to class, the smiley faces Mrs. Klock puts on my essays when I did a good job, and many more things. But to be truthful, you're probably not going to miss all the edits on your Capstone paper.

And of course, you’re going to miss your pre-k partner. Because not only do I have so much to teach you, Kate, but you have taught me so much. I admire how caring and friendly pre-kers are to each other, and you are very good at sharing and treating each other well. I can’t wait to see what your class will be like when you are graduating. My class has changed a lot since pre-k. We’ve grown together. I couldn’t imagine a better group to spend these ten years with. I’ve never felt so close to large group of people. I can’t thank them enough for all they have taught me and for the safe space they gave me to grow. I know that you and your class are going to feel the same way. I can’t wait to see what the next nine years hold for you, Kate. And if you are having trouble writing your graduation speech in nine years, call me, because maybe I’ll help you realize what you want your speech to say in the same way my eighth grade partner Kathryn helped me.

Sincerely,

Your eighth grade partner, Chaney