Speech by Jennifer Thornquest
May 25, 2014
8th Grade Promotion and Sophomore Year Completion Ceremony
As I was preparing for this evening, I was considering printing a formal certificate of completion for each student. They certainly earned something to signify completing their 8th and 10th grade year. However, in reminiscing. . . and planning. . .I decided to present each student with a unique token of remembrance, instead.
This year was about healing and dreaming and self discovery and friendship – much more than it was about academics and reminding ourselves of our need for disciplined study habits. I assure you that these ladies will master Algebra (. . .at some time in their lives before then need it.)
They are adequately equipped to read a piece of great literature and analyze the author’s purpose in writing it, each of them can proficiently present a speech, dissect a sheep brain, and describe the systems of our amazing body better than anyone else in this room. Their studies brushed against the classic writing of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jane Austen. They reviewed basic grammar and invested several hours in learning rich vocabulary. They were challenged in their academics in co-op’s anatomy class, research paper course, speech and leadership classes. Their life was full of electives and friendships. . . but that is not where the depth was.
This year presented an opportunity to learn deeply. We drank together from a well of healing water and friendship . . . we needed it too. . . found in scripture study, sleepy mornings, gentle confrontations, canyon walks, Zumba and Yoga, living room dance parties, and co-creating artistic spaces out of chaos we over came. . . broken homes, bullies, injury, sickness, disappointment, and change.
Through non-conventional but intentional assignments to learn about what you are interested in, these ladies learned to value what is important to them, and pursue it. We called it Delight Learning.
Most of all I want to share with you about each young woman’s journey this year and forward. I firmly believe that this year equipped all of us with an important tool. Through our study of Malala Yousafzai as well as diving deeply into things we WANT to learn about( as well as doing what we “had” to do – even when we didn’t want too) – we learned the important lesson of PERMISSION.
We have permission to be who were are. We have permission to spend long hours pursuing our passions and discovering new ones. We have permission to start essays in the middle and save tough stuff for later. We have permission to take care of the body God gave us through healthy choices to catch a nap or walk the canyon. We have permission to laugh and cry and enjoy the friendships around us. We have permission to admit that our value is not is WHAT we can do but WHO we belong to. . . as daughters of a great BIG loving GOD. . . he sees our value through his son, Jesus. He is pleased. We have permission to be pleased with how we are made. Unique. Beautiful and Made for a Purpose bigger than ourselves. So tonight I will present each student a simple token that is an “infamous” Jennifer-ism, called a Permission Flag. Remembering you have permission to be you. That is enough.
The first student I want to recognize is passionate, hard-working, feisty, creative, and very dedicated. She is inspired by how the body works and stretches hers beyond the average person, everyday. She panics at deadlines, yet, loves the pressure to meet one. She harnesses procrastination like no one I have ever seen and turns it into pressure to perform. . . she gets that from her mom. I am proud to parent and teach: Madyson Kay Thornquest.
The next young lady made her way into our home and hearts about ten years ago. She has come a long way from toting her blankie and hiding from microphones. She is gentle, beautiful, smart, silly, kind and giving. While she made think she needs to be affirmed by those around her sometimes, I have seen her fiery side show this year through making new friends, spontaneous public speaking, and delight learning presentations. I am proud to see her hosting tonight’s evening when just a few short years ago she was too shy to talk in front of anyone. She makes me laugh and quiets my heart and she is going places: Jenna Marie Amundson.
Lastly tonight, I want to honor a young woman who is on a passionate pursuit of self discovery. She is quickly shedding the labels of a woman her age while continually amazing us with new talents and thrill seeking adventures. She is one of the hardest working people I have ever met and often supports the people she surrounds without them even knowing. She has secrets and stillness that soften her. .. she is beautiful, artistic, intelligent and charismatic. Next year, she will be designing her own education. She is ready to take flight as a business woman, an artist, a performer, and student of the way things work. I am so excited to parent and teach Mariah Christine Thornquest.