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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Joel's Ann Arbor Open Graduation Speech: Video and Text

A fortnight ago, Ann Arbor Open held its eighth grade graduation. I alluded to it in this post. My son Joel was one of the speakers. I was very proud of the poem he wrote, and he gave me permission to post it. (Thank you Joel!) Unfortunately, I didn't have a video to post. Now I do. Many thanks to Mark for sending me the video he took. If you have a little trouble hearing it, you can read the poem below the video. A few explanatory notes follow the text.






When I Was In Kindergarten 
By Joel Appel-Kraut 

When I was in kindergarten, we would sit by the bookshelf in the classroom and read. We would read until our heads were swirling with all the 5 letter words we didn’t fully understand. When I was in kindergarten, we would stand in front of the stoplight in Char’s room and yell and scream until it turned red. Because some of us went to safety town, so we knew what that meant. 


When I was in 1st grade, we would bring in stuff on 100s day and the kids whose parents let them bring in marshmallows were instantly cool. On occasion, we would get visits from the only Superhero who ever made time for 6 year-olds. When I was in 1st grade, I would cower under the middle schoolers as my siblings told stories about their cute little brother and his golden angel locks. 


When I was in 2nd grade, we would look down on the lowly first graders as if they were our pets. Unless they were on our team in gym. We would marvel at the fact that the science Olympiad teacher was teaching us science. When I was in 2nd grade, even rock paper scissors could not decide who got pentathlon. 


When I was in 3rd grade, we looked up to our CHS buddies as if they were our future, high-school selves. When we went to West Park, a walk down the block was like a time machine, where we could walk the trails like the native-americans who started them. When I was in 3rd grade. We still didn’t have a good way to decide who got pentathlon. 


When I was in 4th grade, we would think of alliterative names for our friend group like fantastic five, or super six. We would engrave the drama in embarrassing recordings that will not be heard ever again. When I was in fourth grade, the CHS buddies didn’t seem quite as tall. We still all wanted pentathlon. 


When I was in 5th grade, we would stress all week about checking out on Friday. We would protest that Rick Hall should not be able to grade our cursive or spelling. How can you tell me that I spelled George wrong when Doover is not even a word. When I was in 5th grade we would have sweet dreams about burning our cursive sheets in a fiery inferno come November. And we would fight about who got pentathlon. 


When I was in 6th grade, we would shrug off checking out as if it were nothing. By 6th grade, we had learned from experience to stay on Ko’s good side during yearbook time. And it was even somewhat sad when Rick put his doover stamp in my yearbook. When I was in 6th grade, we would have sweet dreams about that time we burned our cursive sheets in a fiery inferno last year. And we would laugh at the 5th graders' petty fights about who should get pentathlon. 


When I was in 7th grade, we would commiserate over how we didn’t get the schedule we wanted. We would meet with Allan even though we knew there was nothing we could do. When I was in 7th grade, we thought it was stupid that the eight graders said they should get first choice for Gardening. 


When I was in 8th grade, we would laugh as the 7th graders looked at their schedule to remember it. We turned lunch basketball games into two person dunk contests. When I was in 8th grade, we wanted to get first choice for gardening. 


When I am in High School, I hope to take the lessons I learned here, and apply them every day. I hope to be successful, largely because of this school. When I am In High School and Beyond I hope to be a role model for future kids standing and giving a speech at their 8th grade graduation. 


When I am 100 years old, I hope to sit around a table on the porch and drink ice tea with my friends, many of whom went to this very school. See, when I am 100, I hope to reminisce about the fun we had, the bonds we made, and the things we learned, when I was in Kindergarten.




*pentathlon=an activity in Science Olympiad (for 2nd-5th graders) that utilizes both scientific principles and basketballs, and requires using the gym.
**doover=do over; pronounced as doo-ver.
**CHS buddies=Community High School buddies, a cross-school program
The first names are names of teachers at Ann Arbor Open.


1 comment:

  1. Oh Ruth, this made me cry!!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete

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