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Commencement Speech Deepa Rao1

Commencement Speech Deepa Rao1

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Published by: deepa_rao_6 on Dec 25, 2011
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Commencement Speech by Deepa RaoPhoenix Country Day School Well, Class of 2008, we are finally here. The last time I graduated, back in middleschool, I was in a poofy white dress. But here I stand—here
stand--clad in sleek black robes. These robes symbolize our end at PCDS and the beginning of a new journey. Fromabove we must all look like little black dots—tiny, neatly arranged, but not insignificant. When I pictured us from this perspective, I couldn’t help but connect the dots withimaginary lines. It got me to thinking, what is it that really connects us? Our dressing alikesymbolizes our unity as a class and our common achievement. And we are held together by atapestry of memories, inside jokes, friendship, love, and those awkward turtlemoments…but there must be more.I realized that humans
to connect things. When we look to the heavens, weconnect those fiery specks to create constellations; when we graph, we connect seemingly unrelated data points to understand their relationship; when we draw, we literally connectlines and dots to create art; and when we all have the chicken pox, we can’t resist the urge toconnect those itchy red spots. The act of connecting occurs from the subatomic level to thecosmic one: atoms covalently bond while galactic clusters are held together by gravity. Butthere is no law in physics that connects us on a human level. We humans connect through emotions, ideas, traditions, culture, sports, movies, andof course food. But our interaction goes beyond that. Humans not only need to connectthings, we also need to connect to one another. Our survival as a species is a consequence of our ability to connect. Kinship, community, love—these three things allowed us tocooperate and therefore use our collective intelligence to survive. However, throughout our
Commencement Speech by Deepa RaoPhoenix Country Day Schoolhistory, the formation of one group of humans has lead to the exclusion of another. If weneed to connect in order to survive, then why do we fight this necessity and fight with oneanother? Wars, prejudices, fear, and apathy prevent us from connecting with others. Thesebarriers are not easy to overcome. Thankfully, the majority of humankind’s greatest inventions are ones that connectpeople, not separate them. For example, railroads, phones, airplanes, the Internet, and of course Facebook, all have a similar purpose: to connect people. However, ironically thesesame things can isolate us. People today spend hours on the internet but never really interact with those around them. No amount of technology can ever replace the squeeze of ahandshake, a heartfelt hug, or the warmth of a welcoming smile--these are what I will missmost about PCDS. Tonight, graduation night, we are here to celebrate our education. But all of this would not be possible without our teachers, family, friends, and especially our parents. Theseare the most important people in our lives. Outside of the classroom, they’ve taught us thetrue meaning of friendship, education, teamwork, love and so much more. Inside of theclassroom, we’ve acquired the skills to connect cultures, ideas, emotions, history, andinformation about the natural world and the cosmos. Science, art, literature, language,history, math—these are all tools to help us piece together the world, the universe, and life. With a wonderful foundation in all of these disciplines, it is the next generation’sturn to discover more and to combine our knowledge in novel ways. As author GeorgeSe
del said, " The ability to relate and to
, sometimes in odd and yet striking fashion,
Commencement Speech by Deepa RaoPhoenix Country Day Schoollies at the very heart of any creative use of the mind, no matter in what field or discipline.”Our imagination is our strongest asset. Whether it’s a new play in a game, a brilliant scientificconclusion, a witty metaphor, a musical composition, or an awe-inspiring painting--ourimagination makes us unique. So thank you, our parents, our friends, our family, and ourteachers for supporting our endeavors and for stretching our minds. You’ve shown us how powerful a good education can be.Our education allows us to connect to the world around us. But often the hard partis discovering what is within us. The most powerful connection we can have is between ourminds and our hearts. Logic and emotion are intertwined, and you can’t separate them. Sodon’t fight it! Life and love are about taking those inner feelings and harnessing them intosomething productive. If you follow your heart, things
work out. Steve Jobs said it best,“You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust insomething — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” So, take a quiet moment to listen toyourself. Only then will you hear your heart beating. The fact that we are all somehow connected should not be taken for granted.Everything, no matter how distant or disconnected, affects us. A lonely flower in the desert,a lost piece of a jig saw puzzle, a man torn away from his home, a distant star thatsupernovas in our sky: every little thing belongs to something much grander than we couldever imagine. The flower is part of endless cycle of life and death. The lonesome puzzlepiece, once connected, is part of a bigger picture. The disconnected man was once part of a

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