Graduation Speech: The Math and Science of the Class of 2015

Ryan Firenze, Class of 2015
June 5th, 2015

BDS has enhanced our knowledge of the world. We study many subjects and each of the subjects gives us skills and information. In English this year with Mrs. Klock, we learned from House on Mango Street and To Kill a Mockingbird about how people do and do not fit in. We learned about discrimination in the past and present. Of course, in English we also learned about sentence structure and grammar.

In math with Mr. Parsons and Ms. Zaval, we learned about exponential and quadratic equations; we learned about polynomials. We learned how to graph and how to solve tricky problems. 

In social studies with Ms. Rice, we learned about the nature of freedom, our responsibilities, why people’s stories matter and how to recognize leadership. We also wrote our Capstone essays and worked on our projects and presentations.

In science with Ms. Trentowsky and Ms. Blabec, we learned about the the cell structure of the human body. We learned about the Periodic Table of Elements and chemical bonding.        

Those are some of the things we learned in each subject. Out of those subjects, I think I liked math or science the best. So when I needed to write a graduation speech I went to the subjects where I was most interested. The day before the rough draft was due, I started writing. I thought of the different ways I could show the growth of our class. One way of thinking of our class is to think of our class like an exponential graph. At first, before fifth grade, I wasn’t there so everybody naturally was miserable. But in reality when you are young, you don’t get to know each other in a deep way. As time went on, classmates joined BDS. The group that had now started to form became much closer, encouraging new kids to join.

Each new person who was added to our class made us more connected, more joyful, and brought new ideas to our conversations. Each new person didn’t add just a little, but had a huge impact on the dynamics of the class. By the time we were in sixth and seventh grade, we were having a lot of fun together.

Or maybe we are more like the quadratic equation, y=-x2, which is shaped like an ‘n’. As we moved along to Capstone, the energy and the excitement peaked. We could not believe that it would get any better. As we were getting older it was harder for us to have more fun than we were already having. But now as we are graduating, it is true, and our sense of fun is challenged. We are sad because we are leaving BDS.

A science metaphor that might be useful is chemical bonding. There are two types of chemical bonds, ionic or covalent. In an ionic bond, one atom takes an electron from another atom completely. I believe that sometimes, yes, if someone wants to be happy, they have to take something from someone, but that is okay because that person might really want to give it and be happy to donate something that is valuable to a classmate. In a covalent bond, two atoms share an electron so that they can both be happy. We’ve done a lot of sharing—on our playing fields, in the studio, in classrooms. We’ve appreciated each other, collaborated with each other, and celebrated each other. So, yes, guess what, sharing is caring, no matter how old you are. Both of these kinds of bonds bring atoms closer together. Just as with chemical bonding, exchanging things and sharing things make us a closer group of fantastic kids.

I would like to apologize to every teacher who has ever taught this class, I think I can speak for the class when saying that at some times we were annoying. We were so busy being happy together that we had some work to do in being the best we could be in class. By sharing how eighth grade science and math can be used to explain us, at least our teachers should know that we were finding the information useful and that we learned a significant amount of material!

Thanks to great teachers and great classmates. I hope our exponential growth continues, and that our bonds are unbreakable.