Thank you all for coming and thank you to all Wheeler faculty and staff for helping us reach this great moment. Congratulations to the class of 2022.
My name is Carl Wehbe. Thank you for the chance to speak about my Wheeler Experience and about our incredible senior class.
To start I want to share with you a recent interaction I had with my Grandmother. We were making soup together and I asked how she still looks so young. I was expecting a superstitious answer about how she eats 3 walnuts exactly 35 minutes before bed. But, she replied with, “because I forgive”. The conversation transitioned and I did not think much of it at the time. But, upon reflecting on my Wheeler experience to write this speech it became clear. Wheeler is vibrant and prosperous because it is a forgiving place. Students are encouraged to take risks, fail, and improve.
In the spirit of forgiveness, I want to take this opportunity to forgive some people in the Wheeler community: Coach Randy, if you ever hear this, I forgive you for not putting me in the starting lineup for the first 8th grade soccer match, Genna Steever, I forgive you for beating me up in the 6th grade, Graham Spurrell, I forgive you making loud and distracting dinosaur noises in every class, and to the entire Class of 2022 I forgive you for refusing to participate in any of the activities Lila and I plan.
Though they vary in scale, every graduating class has some catastrophe that characterizes the nation during their four years. The late 2000’s had the financial crisis, the 2010’s had Ebola, and we had the triple E mosquito virus. I mean this thing delayed our sports games and had us worried about going outside for weeks. Those were tough times. In all seriousness, we students owe a great debt of gratitude for all the Wheeler teachers and staff who continued to work on our development as students, even when the methods became unconventional. That being said, learning online was oftentimes very tough. We, along with all high schoolers, had to muster up the energy to stare at our computers all day everyday for months. Thankfully we don’t have to do that again until we get our first desk job. I think I speak for everyone when I say our attitude towards waking up for the school days of 2020 is best summed up by a quote from poet and philosopher Kanye West, “Damn, here we go again.”
Though we all agree that we might not have gotten to experience high school to the fullest, once given the chance, we quickly saw that we could take hold of our senior year. Our class began to embody this forgiving attitude. Every wall that was placed in front of us, we broke down, without looking back. We accepted that we had to endure unusual circumstances, rather than surrendering to them. Our class excelled on the sports fields, in the theater, in musical performance, and even started to get to school on time… most of us started to get to school on time. But truly, the Class of 2022 has an incredibly strong set of talents and we humbly accept the award for most attractive class to have graced 216 Hope Street.
To close, I want to share with the Class some thoughts I have on our futures. We have spent 14-15 years in school and what have we been aiming for? I believe we all have this idea in our mind that we have been striving to achieve what I call “perfect potential.” “Perfect potential” meaning that ideal version of yourself that is “prepared” in the eyes of a place, may it be a college, a job, etcetera. But, my fellow classmates, now is the time to move past that attitude. We have have shown our competence and perfected our potential. Whether on the national level, in our city community, or even within our campus, we have demonstrated that we can be leaders; that we can change our surroundings for the better. We are a class of all-state athletes, nationally recognized math, science and language students, award winning writers and artists, volunteers who have done thousands of hours of community service, and so much more. We must move past the idea that we are working on being ready. We are ready. We have the tools and it is time to pay forward the investment our teachers, family and friends have made in us. It is time to make our impact. Thank you everyone.