Good evening Class of 2012! WOW! I cannot believe that we are graduating high school today. It is truly amazing how we have developed over these past 12 years.
Today, I want to share two stories with you from my life that have helped shaped who I am today. That’s it, not a novel, but two stories from the heart.
This first story is about living with no regrets. This past February, I traveled with 27 other teens from Fairfield County to the country of Nicaragua with an organization called Builders Beyond Borders. Over the course of seven days, we built 10 homes in a small community of El Espavel.
At first, I was slightly apprehensive about the trip; going into a country that predominately speaks Spanish, meeting new people, not having a bathroom 24/7, and basically stepping out of my comfort zone.
The first night, our team talked about the upcoming week and shared about previous experiences from past trips, and gave us, the newbies, some advice. One girl explained how fast the week goes by, and that we only have seven days to make a connection with this community, experience an entire new culture, and to make a difference. So, I took that advice and lived that week with no regrets. I put my best foot forward, putting my energy into building our first home, making connections with my new teammates as well as forming relationships with the kids and families in the community. I definitely do not speak fluent Spanish, but I tried my hardest to speak the little bit of Spanish that I do know. I didn’t think it was possible to form such a close connection with others who do not even speak the same language as you. I was proven wrong, on day one.
The mother of our first house we built, was so welcoming, so kind, and so loving. Her laughter was contagious, and for some reason, she loved to tickle us! We learned on the second day that this mother of two was the same age as us. She was 18 years old. It made us stop for a second and think about the life that we are so fortunate to be living. She was a mother to not just her kids, but many others in the community.
I had become good friends with one of the kids she took care of, named Francisco, who is 12 years old and a very intelligent young man. He looked at my work gloves where my last name, Lamy, was written in, he looked up, and said, “¿Es tu nombre?” I simply said, “Si.” We made an instant connection. My friend Andrew and I would play soccer with him, run around the house playing tag, and other games. We would laugh and chat with others translating for us.
It was the last day, and we were celebrating with the community, and I asked where Francisco was. Someone told me that he was too sad to say good-bye to us, and that he rather stay home. But as I was walking to the bus, Francisco’s cousin motioned to my friends and I. My two friends and I rushed to find Francisco very upset behind his house. Of course within a second we were all crying, and standing there trying to talk to him but none of us knew how to speak Spanish!
I had wanted to thank him for making me feel so welcome, tell him that he is an amazing and intelligent young man and that I want him to go to school everyday to educate himself so that one day he can go beyond the sugarcane fields. We both understood each other. We gave each other one last hug and I walked toward the bus, crying hysterically.
Builders Beyond Borders recently visited the community in Nicaragua, and Francisco is doing amazing! I knew that at the end of that week, I had no regrets. I didn’t look back and wish I had done anything different. I hope that when you look back on your years here at Weston, or anything you do in life, that you don’t have many regrets.
But if you do, put those in your front pocket, and remind yourself as you go off to college, to do the things that you missed in high school. When you step foot onto your college campus, I want you to think about this: I have four years, to get the best experience possible. Academic, social, athletic, whatever it may be. I want you to introduce yourself to the first person you see. Say hello to everyone, make friends, be social, work the hardest you can so that you can get that job that you have always wanted when you graduate college. I only hope that at your college graduation, you look back and have no regrets.
You may run into obstacles on your journey to success, and your dreams. The story that I am about to share with you, is something that I don’t share often, and for some, you may not know about me.
At the age of five, I was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. I wasn’t sure what that was at the time. But I knew I was “different” or so I thought. Then, in my sophomore year of high school I was diagnosed with OCD and ADHD. Hmm… What does all of this mean I thought? I was excited, because I finally had an answer to all of the things I do, such as count in my head while I go up the stairs, move my head around a lot, or type one sentence over and over again until it is perfect. But that’s not the point.
I ran into a lot of obstacles in these past years that not a lot have had to deal with. But I didn’t want to be the person with an excuse for everything. So, I made something of it. I pushed forward, saw my teachers for extra help at least once a week, spent time organizing myself and studying harder. I’m making this sound much easier than it was, but I didn’t always want to listen to the advice from others such as my mother, or guidance counselor.
But here’s a lesson, sometimes you need to listen to someone, because they often just want to help. I wanted to do a lot of things in high school and rather than letting my diagnosis stop me from living my dreams, it pushed me forward. I used them to my advantage. My success in art is mostly attributed to my OCD and my impulse to go for something. While I wasn’t an AP Student, I was “Brian Lamy.” I did what I did best. I did my art, I organized events. I could not be more thankful for having Tourette’s, OCD, and ADHD. Things happen for a reason, as Ms. Wolak reminds me very often.
As many of you know, my dream is to become the CEO of Apple by the age of 45. Some would say that’s impossible, but four years ago, some people could not have imagined the things I have achieved in high school. It is all about taking the steps to reach your dream. Dream big, every single day. My mom always taught me that you need to have goals, because what is life without something to look forward to?
Standing here now as the co-president of Weston High School, I could not be more proud to be graduating as part of the Class of 2012. We are a class of high achievers and I know that we will be the generation to put a ding in this universe. This year, you guys have made the biggest impact on Weston High School. While a few of us can start the spirit train, it takes a class of 189 seniors to carry it out as well as an administration such as we have here in Weston.
Ms. Wolak has been with us for seven years now. Weston High School could never have achieved this much success without you. I know that myself, as well as all of my peers, will miss you dearly. Seniors, you guys are caring, loving, empathetic, and bold. Remember to always call Weston High School your home, live with that Trojan spirit and come visit often. Remember, pictures are only a click away at WestonHSgov.com.
As you go out into the world, remember to dream big, really big, and never ever give up on your dream, no matter what!
Live big. Dream big.
Congratulations Class of 2012!