Richard Springer is the St. Patrick Catholic High School Class of 2018 Salutatorian. His address was given during the Graduation Liturgy and Presentation of Diplomas on Friday, May 18, 2018.
Read his address to students below!
Bishop Kihneman, clergy, Dr. Ladner, Dr. Clark, Mr. Buckley, faculty, staff, distinguished guests, and my fellow graduates, it is my honor to speak on behalf of the greatest class to ever walk the halls of St. Patrick, the Class of 2018. And Mrs. Sutherlin, thank God it’s Friday. There are some things you only get to do once, and graduating from high school is one of them. Except, this isn’t your typical high school. This is a place where we’ve been a part of a family, and pretty soon, we become alumni of that family.
But when I hear “St. Patrick,” I don’t think of a building, I think of walking into Mrs. Worrel’s class each day and hearing her infamously say, “Good evening.” I think of the 16-hour bus ride to Washington with everyone who was crazy enough to go yet brave enough to stand up for the voiceless. I think of having Mass on Thursdays and tacos on Wednesdays. I think of starting every day with, “Good morning, St. Patrick. Please stand for prayer and pledge.” I think of a place where any person can walk in these doors, and with enough hard work and grit, make it to where we are today.
St. Patrick is an experience, and it’s indescribable. It is truly a special adventure. My adventure would have been pretty boring had it not been for a few groups of people, the first of which I have to thank are my friends. You all have done more for me than you could ever imagine. And to all of you, whose friendship I’ve made along the way, thank you for being those stereotypical “positive people” that our parents told us to surround ourselves with. And thank you for being there for me when I needed you most. I will cherish our friendships forever.
The next group I want to thank are the people sitting behind us. Our teachers. You have inspired and motivated us and opened up our minds to the endless possibilities of which we can achieve. The true measure of a good teacher is how much he or she teaches beyond the subject at hand, and that’s what St. Patrick teachers do. They give us advice and life lessons and encourage us to always be the best version of ourselves. Like most of my classmates, there are many who have had a monumental impact on my life, whom I must recognize.
First, to Mrs. Strange and Mr. Lee. You fostered my love of and appreciation for music at St. Patrick, and it is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. To Mrs. Trahan, you made me a better person and gave me the opportunity to express myself in drama, a place where anything’s possible. To Mr. Prindiville, you taught me how to be the man in the arena who errs and comes short again and again, yet at the best knows in the end victory, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. To Mrs. Buckley, my Confirmation sponsor, you taught me about leadership and how to be a voice for my fellow students, and how to always have God in my life. Your door was always open when I needed a friend to talk to. And to Mrs. Tavel, my STAR teacher, your passion and dedication for teaching motivates me each day. You were the first teacher I had who really pushed me, and you’ve inspired me to pursue mathematics as a field of study. Thank you so much. These are some of the teachers who have been mentors to me, but I know that each of my classmates have several who have shaped them in different ways. To all of the teachers and staff here, the Class of 2018 thanks you for everything you have done for us. You have prepared us well for any challenges we’ll face in the future, and we owe you an immense debt of gratitude.
Lastly, I want to thank my family and my two biggest supporters, my parents. Mom and dad, you motivate me each day to do my best in all things, and your support of every endeavor I pursue means the world to me. You are my rock, and I love y’all. And to my whole family, biological and non, I thank you for always being there for me at games, concerts, drama productions, and so many other ways. I can always count on you to have my back.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that the amount of love St. Patrick family has to give is astonishing. I’ll end with a story from my perspective that I think explains this. Two years ago, I got into a car accident on the way to the first home football game. Unfortunately, I missed the game, but we lost 41-20. I made it to the hospital and I was okay. After I got settled, I turned on my phone, and what happened next was indescribable. I had 68 unread texts and 20-something missed calls. My mom was getting texts and calls from teachers and parents. I even saw a Snapchat story of some of the guys from the game who painted my initials on themselves, which I thought was pretty cool. I later learned that they prayed for me at the beginning of the football game. If I could ask for one thing, Class of 2018, it’s that you never stop doing that. Never stop caring. What seemed like a simple text for you is a lasting memory for me. It’s those kinds of little things that we do, things we don’t even think about doing, that can mean the world to someone else. St. Patrick has taught us just that – the importance of caring for others. At no other school will you find a close-knit community who openly prays, who grows together, who is there 24/7 for one another, who cares. I encourage you to keep God in your lives and St. Patrick in your hearts. Thank you, and God Bless.