From the mouths of my babes…

In the past few weeks, both of my…um, LOQUACIOUS girls have been asked to make a farewell speech to their classes – the eldest to her fellow nursing school graduates and my littlest to her 6th grade at awards day.

I was both amazed and so proud at how well they both did! Personally, as anyone who knows me well knows, I cannot even READ in front of a crowd (or more than 1 or 2 people), much less come up with a speech! I’m not saying I have issues with coming up with words…lol…but putting them together into a coherent, entertaining-to-others-LIVE-and-in-person way is beyond my current skill level. Maybe one day, when I grow up….

I asked them both for a copy of their words and would like to post it here, as the words they spoke hold meaning to me, even as I’m NOT a part of the direct audience they intended. Neither are ya’ll for that matter, but the words! Did I mention that I love words? 🙂

First the eldest (edited for emphasis):

…I recall feeling very overwhelmed (although we hardly yet knew the meaning of the word!). We all came to UAB and started in our pre-nursing courses, unaware that even then we would meet people and have experiences that would define our tenures as nursing students … I believe it wasn’t without some greater purpose that all of us were accepted together.

From day one, despite the inherent difficulty of new places and people and things, I believe we have experienced a real kinship with one another…. I recall that even though we always felt behind in school, in the reading, on paperwork, we all managed to keep up.

I remember my first clinical experience, I remember the sheer terror we all felt at some time or another in lab or in clinical, petrified that I might not know the answer, but pleased to discover I did when asked.

Of course we will all remember our instructors, patiently guiding us through some of the most challenging expereinces of our lives, reassuring us that although it seemed like nothing had EVER been this complicated, and although it seemed like nothing had EVER been this much work, and although it seemed that nothing had EVER been this impossible to do correctly, that we could master it, complete it, and succeed at it.

And I know we all remember our patients,

be they the first patient we saw, up and walking in outpatient therapy,

the first baby we held or saw being born,

the first family who thanked us for all we had done,

or the first human being whose hand we held and to whom we gave care at the end of their life,

the lives we touched will forever be a part of our experiences.

And that, I think, is our charge: to continue to make a difference in the lives of those around us. As nurses, we have a higher calling to look beyond monetary gain, personal power, or the lure of easy success and to do the morally right thing, to help others, and to help the world.

I absolutely cannot leave you without a quote from Florence Nightingale, it wouldn’t feel right.

“Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as

hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.

Lastly, I would like to thank my classmates. Through thick and thin, exams, bodily fluid, personal crisis, bitter disappointments, and sweetest triumph, we have all been there for one another in friendship and love. These times are and will always be some of my best memories. The lessons in friendship, loyalty, and respect that I have learned from all of you are among the most important of all those learned in nursing school.

Thank you all, I wish you the best of luck, and I love you all very much. Congratulations!

And then there’s the littlest (same edit disclaimer):

Four score and seven years ago… Okay, no, I’m not doing that to you guys.

But really, how long has it been? Three, four years since this school was built? The majority of us came from many different schools, all landing in third grade classrooms. We moved from there to fourth -then fifth. Easy riding for most of us. Then, of course, we hit sixth.

Sixth grade, definitely a new experience. Schedules were problems for a lot of us the first few days, but now we’ve memorized ours (and a few others.)

Nobody quite understood why we had to all go left in the hallways. I still don’t, I just do it.

Books were a good source of complaining, we’d never done that before. Our backpacks had traveled with us from room to room in fifth grade. I remember thinking I was lucky because I had a few less books to carry due to my schedule. Man, had I known most of my friends would get stronger from carrying those books, and I would look weak…

We also experienced the teachers for the first time….In Mr. S’s class, I got the lucky experience of being in his homeroom. The not so lucky experience of having a few insane people in my class. Arguments over which mascot, Auburn or Alabama, should be covered by his magnet…SATs …Strawberry Milkshake lotion. I may never get the ‘Andy Griffith’ theme out of my head. His math class created memories also, and if you don’t believe me, two words; ‘Angle Man’.

Mrs. B’s class was fun, and the information was easy to absorb. It was great if you did what you were told. If you didn’t…Well, moving on to Mrs. W’s! Hers was always entertaining, she was kind, and if we knocked work out quickly, we got to chill a little. On the topic of AR (accelerated reading)…well, it won’t be there next year, and for that I thank God!

Mrs. R’s class was one many complained was hard, but we’ll be thanking her in seventh grade. What’s an army without proper training? She knew how to make information entertaining, and to explain it so that we remembered.

As for Mr. H? It would take me a page or two just to get into the memories he caused. Let’s just say I know we won’t be forgetting him or his class for a while to come!

Tons of things happened this year to make lifelong memories. Camp McDowell while the rest of us chilled at school….SMARTboards arrived, and suddenly our classrooms were backwards and everybody wanted to write on the board, no matter how difficult it was! … Field Day, from preparations, to actually doing it, to the conspiracy theories afterwards.

We lost a few friends, but we gained great new ones, anywhere from old schools, to home schooled (personally, I sympathize with anyone who had to go from a small classroom of one to three people, to an entire classroom of insane ones!) We made friends with those we never suspected. We succeeded, we failed, we laughed, we cried. Yet…most of us can say we survived sixth grade now. We may be crawling out of there on our hands and knees, but we did it. Now, most of us are entering seventh grade the same way we entered sixth; having heard the tales of those older, excited, and ready or not, a majority of us can say Farewell to Sixth Grade for the last time. Thank you for listening.

Going to give the Farewell to 6th Grade Speech


3 Responses

  1. How proud are you? What an honor for YOUR beautiful girls to be honored enough to do this! I know how much this means to you, LeLe. I am proud for you!

    And congrats to you two girls….you have made your Mama twinkle:)

  2. lovely speeches! you have every right to be proud!!! not only of the speeches, but also that they were chosen to make them, and i believe you had your finger in there too… by raising them the way you did.

  3. Absolutely outstanding!

    Now for you, you can write perfectly well and can put words together that would make even Shakespeare envious! It’s the getting up and reciting those words in front of people that paralyzes you. So, don’t ever say you can not write or put words together. You can.

    Love ya.

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