North Augusta High School valedictorian Will Harris spoke about the annoyance of the mortarboard’s tassel and how it relates to life during his graduation speech Friday at the University of South Carolina Aiken Convocation Center.
“When it comes down to it, I just think that it’s distracting, annoying and, in the very worst moments, unnecessary,” he said of the tassel. “But you know what, that’s life, isn’t it? A veritable bombardment of happy, yet ultimately useless, distractions. This world we live in is all too focused on the tassels. The objects. Stuff that, to be blunt, does not matter.”
Harris said it’s the moments in life, not objects, that matter.
The graduation’s theme was The Story So Far. Harris said there are two ways for graduates to continue to write their life story – fill it with moments or fill it with objects.
“And before you make your choice, you may want to consider the name for a book filled with nothing but objects. A catalog. Not exactly a compelling read. Not exactly a worthwhile existence,” he said.
Salutatorian Rebecca Rudi-sill said she was inspired by the song Seize the Day, from the Broadway musical Newsies.
“The song is about a ragtag group of New York City paperboys of all shapes and sizes who come together to fight the tyranny of turn-of-the-century newspaper moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. The boys fight for what’s right, and they ultimately triumph,” she said. “Like the Newsies, we all come from different backgrounds, and we all have different stories, but we do have a common thread pulling us together. At the end of the day, we’re all Yellow Jackets. We are all a part of the Class of 2012, and we’re all finally graduating.”
Brittany Lee celebrated graduation with family in the convocation lobby.
“I’m so happy that I’m graduating from this really great school,” she said.