Graduation Speech excerpt #1:
Tamiscal has been one of the most formative aspects of my life. I started as a shy freshman without any close friends. Intimidated and anxious, I went to school solely for my classes and would leave as quickly as possible afterward. And if my mom was late to pick me up I would hideaway in the garden where I was least likely to be noticed. While Independent Study did allow me to minimize interaction with my peers at that point, the teachers and staff of the school would always check in on me. But it was really more than a simple check in; the staff actually cared about who I was - In sophomore year, I remember telling my math and science teacher, Jon Lew, that I was in love with ducks. We gushed over their charm for some time, and by the next day he brought his well-loved copy of a book called “make way for ducklings” for me to read.
Regardless of the program one is in at Tamiscal, all staff members are extremely attentive and supportive.
Out of my classes, core has been the most meaningful. Core is combination of english and social studies classes, in which a student meets one-on-one with his or her teacher on a weekly basis. The eclectic nature of core provides the opportunity to bond with teachers as individuals rather than authoritative figureheads, and is definitely what has contributed to my academic success, and emotional wellbeing as a student. Throughout my four years as a Tamiscal student, my core teachers, Patchen Homitz, Ellen Strempek, Mary Ruane, and Karen McCredie, have shared so much with me. Ellen introduced me to the freedom of poetry and creative writing, Mary taught me to be true to myself and allowed me to fall in love with Transcendentalism, and Karen made me ponder the world more than I ever have before.
Graduation Speech excerpt #2:
We’re all so lucky to be graduating from Tamiscal, one of the best programs in our county. We are a unique group of people and proud of it. We are the kids who decided that conventional school was not for us.
There seems to be a stigma among those who have little knowledge of what Tamiscal is, that our school is easier than the big schools. But I think my fellow graduates can relate when I say that is not true. Tamiscal does not allow you to skate by academically. Just because all of us had a modified schedule, does not mean that the workload was any easier or smaller. In fact, trying to self-manage our lives starting in high school was incredibly difficult. Being in charge of our own education has been one of the most challenging things to accomplish, but also one of the most rewarding.
When people ask me what Tamiscal is, and why I go to Tamiscal, the easy response is to explain how it is an alternative high school and that it’s better for me academically. However, the real answer is more complex. Tamiscal not only has a personal educational system, but they also hire teachers and staff who genuinely care whether you like the material you’re learning and want you to learn in the best possible way for you as an individual. For me, the key is that Tamiscal provides an environment where you are encouraged to express yourself and your opinions are genuinely valued. The entire staff goes above and beyond to make sure that each student is learning to the best of their unique ability. The fact that our school district cares enough to offer an alternative high school for those like me, honestly changed the course of my high school experience.
One of my absolute favorite memories happened in the first few months of my sophomore year. First you should know that I have a passion, and my passion is softball. I have been playing softball since I was five years old. Anyways, one of the teachers, asked me to bring my softball gear and throw the ball around with him and Corbett. Unfortunately, Corbett chickened out …..just kidding, he couldn’t make it…..but Patchen and I played for the entire hour of lunch. At the time, I had just made my transition to Tamiscal and didn’t really know anyone yet. What Patchen did really convinced me that Tamiscal’s teachers genuinely take an interest in you and go the extra mile to make you feel welcome.
Because of this memory and many more, I want to thank all my incredible teachers over the years: Ellen, Patchen, Jen, Brad, Karen, and Sarah. I know all of you have prepared me, and the other graduates, for college more than any big school could have. Because our high school operates as a mini college, each of us has been given an advantage compared to our peers graduating from typical high schools. All the teachers at Tamiscal have contributed so much to our growth as people, both academically and emotionally. I have to admit, there were a few times where I got behind in work, yet not one teacher judged me or seemed to hold it against me. Instead they encouraged me, and gave me the support I needed to make those little changes that allowed me to continue on my educational journey. As a student here I have learned how to teach myself rather than wait for teachers to teach me. For this I am very grateful.
Amongst the incredible teachers, there is one person who I want to bring attention towards. Sarah Eheart was a new addition to Tamiscal my junior year. She is the wonderful Academic Workshop teacher. Over these past two years, this lady has become someone who I will always cherish and remember. Sarah does an outstanding job at focusing on the positives in any given situation. She boosts your confidence and makes you believe that you can accomplish all of your goals as a student. Whenever you are overwhelmed managing your schedule she gives you that extra push to figure things out and keep moving forward. Thank you Sarah for everything you have done for me, for your endless kindness, for our long talks about life, and for keeping me on track academically whenever I needed it.
I feel it is very important to recognize the fact that Tamiscal encourages all students to spend the time they want and need to follow their passions. The amazing thing is that Tamiscal allows you to stay in school while pursuing those passions. My passion is playing competitive softball for multiple travel ball teams. I’ve been the starting catcher for Redwood’s Varsity softball team since my freshman year. And if I had been told I wouldn’t be allowed to play for Redwood’s softball team and attend Tamiscal, I most likely wouldn’t have jumped at the opportunity to enter such an amazing learning program. But Tamiscal knows that passion keeps us connected and helps us make a difference in the world, whether it is playing sports, singing, acting, playing an instrument, attending classes at COM, or being a part of the Pathways program.
I don't know how my high school experiences would have been different if I hadn’t decided to go to Tamiscal. But what I do know is that I am incredibly thankful that I got to experience the support from this school and the staff, that I am incredibly honored to be graduating with all of my peers who have experienced the same ups and downs attending Tamiscal that I have, and the utmost grateful to the undying support from the parents. I wouldn’t want to graduate any other way than with the staff and the graduates here today; thank you and congratulations class of 2018.
Graduation Speech excerpt #3:
There are so many things we could say about our experience at Tamiscal, that can not be summed up in a couple of minutes. Many high school students transfer to Tamiscal to regain their passion for learning, and Tamiscal definitely does not disappoint. When I first started Tamiscal, like most Freshman, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to handle the course load and the “independent” aspect of Tamiscal.
At first, it was a bit of a disaster. On Monday, I would be thinking that I had the whole week to finish my work. Then, before I knew it, it Sunday night, and I had to face Patchen the next day with my 10 hours of Core work. The teachers at Tamiscal, though, were so patient with all of us. They allowed us to cultivate the time management skills we needed in order to succeed.
However, one of the most important things I have learned, sitting at my core meetings in these past four years is that we are so unbelievably privileged to be here. Amongst this chaotic time in the world, Tamiscal students are learning and planning out their futures, formulating our own opinions, growing into ourselves. Even though we are aware of how tough things can be in the modern world, we have been given such great opportunities to succeed, and I know each and everyone of my classmates has put so much effort into making sure their futures are great.