Graduation Remarks

By Katie Cunnane ’12
June 6, 2018
Hello everyone. My name is Katie Cunnane. I was a lifer here at Charlotte Prep, and so was my big sister Gabby. And so was my big sister Blaire. And so was my big brother Jake. There’s one more as of today—my little sister Grace. My poor mother has been going through carpool line for over 20 years! I am currently 19 years old, which I know sounds very old to all of you, but I promise I clearly remember my eighth-grade graduation. Although I would never admit it at the time, I was terrified. I was about to go off to a high school where I knew absolutely no one. I was scared that I was not prepared for high school academically or socially, quite honestly. I was scared that I would lose touch with my best friends that I had known since kindergarten. And I was scared to leave this place; Charlotte Prep had always been my home. I was here every day with all of my siblings and cousins. To add to that, in preschool I cried so much that my teacher put a framed picture of my family in her classroom—so my 3-year-old self’s classroom even slightly resembled my home.

I am not going to lie and say that starting high school was not a big adjustment, but I can confidently say today that I had nothing to be worried about, and neither do you.

Just to express just how nervous I was for high school classes, I will confess to you all that I read my summer reading book for my honors English class three times the summer before high school. Mind you, this was a book that I had previously read at Charlotte Prep, so that makes a grand total of four times. Fortunately, I quickly learned that I was prepared for high school academics—and I promise you will find the same to be true. Although I do not know each of you individually, I know that Charlotte Prep has challenged you and prepared you for all the super fun papers and projects and exams that lie ahead of you! So, please don’t worry about reading your summer reading books four times.

The social scene was a bit more of an adjustment for me. I went from a class of 22 kids to a class of 400, and most of those 400 already knew each other from middle school. I was really worried that I would not know how to handle a different, bigger school. Like so worried that it took me hours to pick out what to wear for my first day of high school, and my Charlotte Catholic uniform gave me a maximum of four different polo/khaki combinations. But again, I came to find out that I was worried about nothing. Something I came to realize, which I wish I had known at the time, is that my very small, diverse class at Prep had taught me so much about people. It taught me how to interact and be friends with everyone, not just people who are similar to me. I know that you guys have this same wonderful ability to befriend everyone and anyone—it is the Charlotte Prep way. You will come to find that this is a rare and special quality; the people you meet in high school will really appreciate you for your ability to empathize with everyone.

As I started to make new friends in high school, however, I was still scared of losing touch with my friends from Prep. My best friend, Lena, was going to a different school than I was. Well, she now goes to college in Spain—we really could not be farther apart if we tried. But over the course of all these years, she has remained my best friend. And Lena and I are not a rare exception. My sister Blaire is 24 and still keeps in touch with her best friend from Prep, Victoria. My brother Jake is 26; he got married last summer, and his best man was his best friend from Prep, David. Whether you and your friends are going to the same high schools or different ones or even different countries, I am confident you will remain friends through time and distance.

So my advice to you all as you move forward is to be confident. I promise Prep has given you all the knowledge and skills to be successful in high school and beyond. What you have learned will stay with you. The friends you have made will stay with you. You are ready for the next step, all you need to do is remember that! If you do not want to take it from me, I can think of a couple other pretty special Prep lifers who happen to share my last name that would agree that Prep gives you everything you need to go on to be amazing people.

Thank you.

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