Sixth Form 2010 Commencement Address by Augie Lehrecke

Why me? I really don’t have a clue. Standing here before you, it’s all that I can think about. Why am I the one speaking for this class? I spend most of my time hanging out with juniors. In fact I’m thinking about coming back next year to give their speech. Some have observed that I am disliked by the fewest number of people in my class, which is very flattering, but I still don’t think that qualifies me to give this speech.


To be honest I’m a little upset, I finished my homework, my classes, did a good job on my CES, I thought I was done, but no, now I had to write this speech. Why me? I don’t know, so I thought about it all the way back to freshman year.


I came here 4 years ago as a freshman thinking that the porcupine in the zoo was my best friend. I was one of the lowest ranked day students in Prum Hall, and yes, we were ranked, and there was a 2-week period where every time I walked by the common room, my classmates would attempt to put me in the trash bin. Needless to say, I was introduced early to Millbrook’s fantastic recycling program. Through the years I’m glad to say that things have changed. I am no longer small enough to be placed in a trash bin; my ranking among the day students has gone up significantly since I got my license, and I’m sorry to say that the porcupine has died. I’d have to say that I still wasn’t considered the typical Millbrook student, mainly because of my interest in the arts, which has ultimately become the most meaningful thing to me here at Millbrook.


The arts center is just one example of the freedom Millbrook offers to everyone that goes here. You get to choose the classes you’re interested in taking. The arts community has allowed me to explore my interests and take control of what I wanted to learn. This alludes to something that makes Millbrook special; it allows you room to make of it what you will. Education is not something that someone just does to you, it is an exchange of ideas, a respect for what matters to people.


Part of that room is the senior projects. As many of you know and probably are tired of hearing, I built a giant nest for my senior project this year. Or rather, I built a giant metaphor. A nest is a home, a safe haven, something that will be used to nurture and to protect. And when its owner’s are done, they will leave it for others to come across. Going through the woods gathering branches, I found that I enjoyed the process of creating it just as much as what it became.


All the seniors here have had this experience in their own way. You each have unique and meaningful experiences that you have gathered and built upon. You have all built your own nests. I have built my nest through friends and experiences to create the home that it is for me now, a home that I am now being kicked out of. Upon the verge of leaving, I realize that I cannot take this home with me; I can only take what I’ve learned in the process of creating it. Both the nest and Millbrook have made me appreciate the process of learning and how it is just as important as the end result.


As circumstances change so we must adapt while remaining true to our principles and ourselves. At this juncture in our lives, we can only take what we’ve learned here and use it as we continue to grow and develop. Tomorrow we all start building a new nest and what you’ve built here will be left behind and reused. It is a scary process but one that we all now know how to do because of experience here.

I want to personally thank all of you for putting up with me, as well as all the teachers who have helped to give us the space and the tools to design and build what’s next.

So why me? Because I built the biggest nest.