In Headmaster Bill Taylor’s words: “I am told that there is a saying in South Korea — “the environment makes the man.” How fitting this statement is, especially for the Valedictorian of the Class of 2022, who entered Trinity-Pawling in the fall of his sophomore year. He quickly established himself as an ambitious and conscientious student, distinguished by an unquenching desire to learn. He had only been at Trinity-Pawling a few months when COVID forced the School to end the year with remote learning. He then spent the following two terms learning remotely. Yet, none of this slowed him down academically. He had found his academic groove. He has taken nine AP courses at Trinity-Pawling, including five during his senior year. He has certainly made his mark on the Trinity-Pawling academic environment and will matriculate at NYU in the fall. On behalf of the faculty, it is my pleasure to congratulate Steven Song on his academic achievement and invite him to come forward as this year’s Valedictorian of the Class of 2022.”
Steven Song ’22 addresses the Class of 2022:
Good afternoon parents, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, faculty, board of trustees, alumnus, and most importantly, graduates of the Class of 2022. Welcome to our special day and time of the year. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Steven Song and it is an honor for me to speak on behalf of my peers.
Before we start, I understand everyone will think, ‘yes’ this will probably be my longest time speaking in front of many people in my time here. And, ‘yes’ — because this is one of my first speeches, I am having a little nervous breakdown right now.
From the bottom of my heart, on behalf of the class, I would like to thank our parents, teachers, and all other supporters who helped us get to this point. Without their time and effort, our Commencement would not have been possible. Their simple words of encouragement and endless support for us to accomplish higher learning have allowed us to overcome some tough times in our life, including the pandemic.
Over the last few days, I have spent some time reflecting on my time here at T-P. It was crazy for me to think that I have spent almost 500 days at this school and probably almost 1,000 hours in the library. The only number I had trouble calculating was how many times we were told to go back to the dorm after the end of study hall, but I’m sure Junyoung Park can help us figure those numbers out.
I would like to share with you my experience at our school. I came to Trinity-Pawling School in the middle of my sophomore year. Because I was not talkative or sociable, I had a hard time making new friends. In fact, these characteristics have made me assume I would not be connected to the community. However, all of my teachers — especially Ms. Najman, Mr. McDougal, and Dr. Mandigo — and my new friends knew how capable I was and had taken serious time and effort to help me get adjusted to the community. Without their support, I would not be at this Commencement.
Also, I would like to take some time to thank my parents. As a teenager, I tried my best to not listen to my parents because I thought they were wrong and leading me down the wrong path. However, I was wrong. Their wisdom and decision have led to better opportunities to become a better person, both academically and socially. For instance, they allowed me to start learning English when I was 4 years old. In fact, because my parents knew my potential in academics, they have incessantly supported me to become a better scholar, allowing me to major in economics and business at the university.
After the Commencement, I highly encourage our class and others to thank people who have helped us up until this point. It does not have to be massive. Even a small word of gratitude will be fine.
There will be times when we will remember all the mistakes and disappointments we had to face during our high school years. All of those times would have felt like the end of the world, which I had gone through also. For example, I have had some poor time management, especially in my junior and senior years, resulting in a lack of sleep, unhealthy eating habits, and severe fatigue. Learning from its consequences, I tried my best to manage my time well to not face them again. Of course, as many adults would probably already know, there will be other obstacles and hardships waiting for us in our life. In fact, life in college will be challenging, yet exciting. By making those mistakes and learning from them, we will eventually move on and become stronger individuals.
Finally, to my peers, the Class of 2022, I would like to ask you that no matter where you go, no matter what you do, and no matter who you are, remember our cherished time together at Trinity-Pawling School.
Today, we are officially the Trinity-Pawling alumni. Congratulations Class of 2022! Good luck on your next journey. Remember, Commencement is the beginning of our new chapter. I have enjoyed sharing this time with each of you, my classmates. Thank you.