Morehouse Olson’s senior sunrise speech – class of 2012

Glenn Morehouse Olson, Adviser

Good morning; and thank you so much for honoring me with this opportunity to speak to the class of 2013. Ever since I was asked to speak, I’ve been thinking about your class. Beyond the talent and leadership I have seen in many of you, I have to be honest – one thing that really stood out to me was your graduation year. Man – it could be tough to be the class of 2013. The number 13 carries so much baggage. It was easy to be the class of 2012 – so nice and even – 12 doughnuts in a dozen, 12 months in the year, 12 hours on the clock…

As the theater teacher, I was really interested in the drama behind the number. As the journalism teacher, I wanted facts – what is the true meaning behind the number 13? And finally as a Language Arts Teacher – I had to understand the symbolism behind it all.

It’s high school, so let’s start with the DRAMA.
The camera pans in – it’s a cloudy night…close up of Amy and Brad in a secluded cabin in the woods.
“Oh Brad, I just love you!”
“I’m very fond of you too, Amy.”
“But I’m a little freaked out…I mean – this morning I broke that mirror, and then that pesky black cat has been hanging around all day – and it IS Friday the 13th.”
“Haha, Amy – no worries – I’ll protect you!”
“Brad (cue music) – I thought I heard something.”
“Don’t be silly – I’ll go out and check”
“But, don’t leave me here alone…Brad…Brad…Brad?”
So the surface, overdramatic truth about 13 – you’re Supernatural

But all my theater students know my motto – Keep the Drama on the Stage – you’re a great group of people – so the horror movie 13 just doesn’t have a place here. All of those bad luck images are purely superstitions. But you just might be a little supernatural…let’s face it – as seniors, You have special powers.

That’s when my journalistic brain kicked in. I had to research the number 13 – what other significance does it have?
The great American writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”

And Thomas Jefferson said, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

The truth is, your class isn’t about luck at all – bad or good – it’s about working hard for the opportunities you have been given, and continuing those efforts in order to achieve a goal and work toward a greater good.

The next fact actually took me on my Language Arts journey into symbolism.
13 is a Prime number – and I know I’m not a math teacher, but it occurred to me…You are 13 – you are a prime number – you are indivisible. There is one – the individual, and then there is 13 – your class. You are united.

More research said the number 13 symbolizes a death to the old and the birth to the spirit: the passage on a higher level of existence – what is this final year of high school, but a passage onto something bigger? It’s not truly an ending, it is a beginning. Although there might be some uncertainty or hesitation during the transformation, in the end – the number 13 represents a very important change. You are transforming.

And we can’t get away from 2013 without acknowledging the Mayan calendar (built on a cycle of 13). You will be the class that actually ushers in the new world past December 22. You are survivors.

Do you realize 13 is the total number of years you’ve spent in school (K – 12) and that 13, 1+ 3 = your number of years in High School? Throughout that time you’ve learned to read, write and count. Think back over these 13 years. You are in a very different place than when you began this journey. Instead of having to be told everything, you have the ability to think for yourselves and make tough decisions. Many of you have jobs, pay taxes and can vote. You have something to give back to the world.

Finally – Whereas 12 is the end, 13 actually symbolizes the beginning. A clock that strikes 13 – is really striking 1:00 – the moment when a new day begins. Today, as the sun rises over your class of 2013 – I will not wish you “good luck,” because that’s not what this year is about. I will ask you to remember: You have powers – use them for good, You are united, You are transforming, You are survivors, You have something to give back to the world.
Have a wonderful year and make every moment count.

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