This speech was written and delivered by Natasja at commencement ceremonies on June 8, 2011.
"To be completely honest, when I first heard of Chapin, I was (to say the least) not incredibly excited to come here. I never understood why anyone would want to go to such a small school with so few people in it, and I was absolutely sure that I wouldn’t change my mind. But just two years later, I can say that Chapin is like a second home to me. Sometimes I wish it was my first. I don’t think that any other school would be able to match, or even come close to, how great the friendships and relationships with teachers are developed here. So for probably the first time in my life, I’m admitting that I was wrong. I’ve come to adore how small and friendly Chapin is, and I will always be in debt to everybody here.
Picture this: it was the first day of school at a completely new place with completely new people… 7thgrade, the beginning of middle school. The beginning of that awkward stage we call being a teenager. And I was the new kid, anticipating the horrors of starting a new life here. Imagine my surprise when I was met with warm “hellos” and smiling faces. I never got lost on my way to classes; someone was always there to offer help. And much to my relief, I did not sit alone at lunch. This is probably one of the things that I am most grateful for; the gift of being accepted. The welcoming vibe that greeted me on my very first day as a nervous 7thgrader continued to radiate from the walls as I walked through the hallways as the confident 8thgrader that Chapin has helped me become.
My favorite memory from 7thgrade, if I had to choose, would be the white water rafting trip. This school really puts a lot of thought into the field trips, and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities. I mean, what other school would send a bunch of 13 year-olds to a trip where they were encouraged to throw water at teachers? Every trip I’ve ever been on has been a great bonding experience, an opportunity to try something new, and of course, incredibly fun. Especially this one. Something about jumping into an ice cold river on a sunny day just brings people together. It was such an amazing experience, and part of what made it so great was all of the teachers who were there. I think I speak for everyone when I say that racing through that river brought out a competitive side that we hadn’t seen in a lot of people. Needless to say, we all came back soaking wet and unbelievably tired, but we knew that that day would stay in our memories for a long time to come.
8thgrade. Imagine a class full of kids, each with bowls of various sugary cereal and smiles on their faces. And they’re solving for the missing side of a triangle too. Yes, this is how Chapin teaches Geometry. Even with all of the amazing field trips we’ve been on this year, when I look back at 8thgrade, the first thing I’ll think of is how one person managed to make me enjoy doing equations. So thank you, Mrs. Moore. I don’t think anyone could’ve gotten through to me the way you did. I could mention how much I loved the field trips and other special days, but I think I should say how special every day here was. Telling stories in English, making them up in Spanish, dissecting frogs in Science, dissecting history in Social Studies…these are all of the things I’ll remember Chapin for.
For these and many other reasons, Chapin has changed my life. No matter what my future holds, Chapin will always be a part of me in some way."