Senior Speeches

This I Believe is a movement encouraging people to share, in essay format, their core values guiding their everyday lives. The movement began in the 1950s with radio host Edward R. Murrow.

When This I Believe was conceived, one of the goals was “to facilitate a higher standard of active public discourse by inspiring people to reflect, encouraging them to share, and engaging them in a conversation about personal values and beliefs that can shape a life, a community, and a society. By inviting Americans of diverse backgrounds to participate in the series, we hope to create a picture of the American spirit in all its rich complexity.”

This year, seniors and a few faculty members will be delivering their own This I Believe essays in our Monday assemblies. The videos on this page will be updated as each member of the senior class delivers their speech.


Jacob Azriel

Hello, everyone. When I was asked to give a “This I believe speech,” I first thought that there is nothing I can share with my peers that I believe in. I have spent the better part of two months on and off pondering about what my topic could be. I started writing a speech about education, but I didn’t like how that turned out. I then was reminded how important my friends are to me, and that sparked an idea in my mind.

I believe that friendship is one of the most important aspects of human life. Everybody has friends, even if they may not think they do -- a legendary teacher, an awesome parent, a funny sibling, an exceptional classmate, a close relative, a vintage grandparent, or even a helpful neighbor. All of these people can be friends. Merriam Webster defines a friend as “someone attached to another by affection or esteem”. We do not know what our lives would be without our friends.

One of my favorite authors, Elie Wiesel, wrote in The Gates of the Forest, “And what is a friend? More than a father, more than a brother: a traveling companion, with him, you can conquer the impossible, even if you must lose it later. It is a friend that you communicate the awakening of a desire, the birth of a vision or a terror, the anguish of seeing the sun disappear or of finding that order and justice are no more. That's what you can talk about with a friend.”

That said, I believe that everybody takes their friends for granted, but maybe not all of the time. No one knows what life would be without their friend until their friend is gone. This could be from a falling out, a move, or sadly, a death. I personally have moved several times. I have had to move and leave friends and make new ones, so I understand the feeling.

I know I have taken my friends for granted before. One friend that I talk to constantly over text because he doesn’t live in my hometown, once told me that I sometimes take him for granted because I never ask how he is doing. Since he told me that, I have always made sure to start a conversation by asking how he is. Another friend whom I am really close with just moved to Hong Kong this past August. Even though I am used to going a few months without seeing him, as he lived two hours away, I still feel that I took our friendship for granted. Since he moved across the globe, there is a 13-hour time difference that means it is excruciatingly hard to talk with him. I really took advantage of the fact he could hang out the whole weekend when he lived in the States, but now I can’t do that.

I also often take for granted my friends’ desire to work and study with me. Our school fosters an environment of student-led learning and academic success. Because of that, if I asked any one of my friends if they would help me study or help me with homework, they would say yes. I know from friends at other schools that this is not always the case. Down the road in college, I may find that many of my friends will not want to help me academically at all. I tend to study best with other people, so it is important for me to have friends that share my pursuit of academic excellence because otherwise, we would not get along.

However, friends can help in many different ways, not just academic ones, and one of the strongest examples I can recall when friends came to the rescue is when our car died out of nowhere. My family only has one car, so we had no means of transportation until we made the quick and unplanned decision of buying a new car. Luckily, one of my dad’s friends lent us one of his spare cars for almost a month. This is a perfect example of how friends can help in a time of trouble.

Personally, I predict that friends will be extremely important throughout my transition from living at home to college. No matter where I end up, I know that I will be very, extremely, astonishingly far from home. While technology can help bridge the gap, there will be no going home for just a weekend to visit my family; the distance will definitely mean I will not see my family back home except during long breaks. This will help make me learn even more about taking friends for granted and the value of friendship as I move away from home and transition into my adult life.

Thank You.

Posted by on Monday December, 18, 2017

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