Walt Whitman, in his masterpiece “Song of Myself,” writes: “I am an acme of things accomplish'd, and I am an encloser of things to be.” I’d like to talk to you today about things accomplished, and things to be.
Those of you in this room, the newspaper and yearbook and literary magazine editors and writers and artists, have accomplished so much this year. You produced a yearbook that within its pages tells the story of this moment in time and these particular people. It now exists, as a piece of history, inside which each of us stops aging and remains forever young and happy. You produced a magazine (well, almost, but you’re so close!) that is full of art and poetry and beauty. And you produced 13 (and counting) newspapers that chronicled the events and contests and opinions and concerns of your community. Between the three publications you represent, you all captured in words and images what it means to be Wootton High School.
But first, before anything was accomplished, there was nothing. Way, way back, there was really nothing. Science tells us that before the Big Bang, all matter that exists was in one, infinitely small nothing – called the singularity. Then all that matter exploded out and about 14 million years passed, and your parents made the biggest decision of your life – they accomplished you. Then another 15 or 16 years passed, and you had an idea. Hey, you thought, let’s describe what it means to be Wootton, and we’ll put a blue cover on it, and put holes in it. And we’ll take a lot of photos and write about Model UN like eight times and paint with red and figure out Photoshop and talk for hours about how it make it look good.
And it’s done. Your peers hold what was once nothing in their hands, and they think, well, I could have done this. But they didn’t – YOU did it. Only the people in this room know how much work it was to take that nothing and turn it into the thing accomplished. We know how you ran from a sports practice to a deadline day, still in cleats, because you remembered something that had to be included before we uploaded. We know how rude that teacher was to you when you were just trying to track down and include that quiet freshman in your coverage. We know how hard it was to hear your work critiqued by your peers, and then to double down in your efforts to do better.
So here’s the thing. You took your own singularity – your own everything inside your own nothing - and you turned it into “the thing accomplished.” And if you did it once, you can do it again. Anything you dream of, things you haven’t even dreamed of yet, already exist, simply because you exist. You are not only the acme of things accomplished, you are the encloser of things to be.
I know I speak for Mr. Hitchens and Mr. Lowe and Ms. Litwin when I tell you that we are so proud and humbled to have watched you make your “thing accomplished,” and we cannot wait to see your “things to be.”