Constantly Searching

During high school graduation, I gave a speech. I remember having a fun time writing it. I wanted it to be my own special moment of profoundness. Whether or not I accomplished that is not for me to decide.

Let’s take a short walk almost four years back in my life:
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I pulled quotes from a couple of sources which had been influential in my life, namely Shakespeare and Star Trek.

Quoting Shakespeare is nothing new for anyone. In fact, Star Trek takes from Shakespeare on a fairly regular basis and there’s some considerable similarities between Klingons and Roman Shakespeare1.

However, I did not use Shakespeare solely because of its Star Trek connection.

I had a hard time with Shakespeare in high school, and for me, quoting it was sort of a way for me to say: “I hate how complex you [the works of Shakespeare] are, but I still respect and admire you.”

I suppose that I could have also quoted Wordsworth, Blake, or Coleridge. But I didn’t.

I watched the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on Sunday and was reminded of one of the Star Trek quotes I included in the speech:
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It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives, day by day. And we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here. Not to conquer you with weapons or ideas, but to co-exist and learn.

I never actually attributed this quote to Star Trek in my speech, which is probably one of my biggest regrets of the entire thing. I think my reasoning at the time was to try and reduce any negative impact that mentioning Star Trek would have on my speech.

For example, let’s say that I quoted this:

As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.

By itself, these come off as great words. Now let’s say that I told you C.S. Lewis wrote them. Now they’re even better words! Profound statement and respectable author makes a great quote.

Now let me postulate that Adolf Hitler was whom I quoted2. My guess is that would not go over so well.

Not that I would/should ever equate Star Trek and Hitler, but I think my point is made.

Back to the Star Trek quote though. I really like it, especially the first sentence: “It is the unknown that defines our existence.”

I like it because it is a statement of purpose and one that I can agree with. I exist because there are unknowns.

The statement of purpose then leads to a statement of mission: “We are explorers. We explore our lives, day by day. And we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge.”

We are explorers. We explore. We explore the human element and we explore physical element. And as we explore, we find answers to the aforementioned unknowns. But we also find more knowns.

To me, that’s exciting.

There really is no other point to this except to share that thought and rectify my failed attribution.

By the way, that quote was from Adolf Hitler.

  1. You Haven’t Read Klingon Until You’ve Read It In It’s Native Klingon by Andrew Ferguson, 10/11/2003 

  2. I think this fulfills Godwin’s Law for this discussion 

The End is Nigh…at least the End of the Beginning is Nigh

  • SAAS

Just about four hours to go until we start our Graduation Festivities. I call them festivities because a SAAS graduation is really nothing like your fathers graduation…or anyone else’s graduation for that matter. First off, this year we are graduating some 73 students. I believe one student will not be walking, but that was on his/her own accord, not for disciplinary reasons. You might be thinking, “Cool, this should, like, what, hour? Hour and half, tops??” He he he. Not so fast. Our graduation lasts an astounding 4.5 hours. Yes folks, you won’t get out of my graduation until tomorrow. The event starts at 7pm sharp (or so they say). The first half is really a presentation by various students and faculty, myself included (more on that later). Then we have a 15 minute intermission before the actual graduating begins. For that, each student comes up individually and seats in the “hot seat” for ~100 seconds while Jean Orvis, Head of School, “roasts” them. But it is truly going to be a blast. I already have pictures a few video clips from yesterdays and todays rehearsal. Pr acting for our graduation really gets one to thinking something along the lines of F**k! I’m graduating…F**k, F**k, F**k, F**k, F**k. Oh F**k. Sorry for the explicits, but this really is a worrisome time. We leave and go off, not knowing what’s going to happen next. I really hate that. I do. F**k. So back to what I’m doing. As a cautionary warning, the following information contains spoilers for the actual graduation and should not be read if you are actually attending graduation…which you are…right?? So after quite a bit of mum, I will finally tell you what I’m doing. I’m giving a speech. It’s a great speech if I do say so myself and I put quite a lot of time, thought, and hard work into it…to make it just right. The speech literally seems to say, I am Andrew, Hear me talk! Anyways, here’s my speech if you want to read it. The “//” mean short pause. Underlines indicates that I should punch the word. Italics indicates quotes. Everything else are just notes to myself that would take too long to explain.

Friends, Romans, countrymen,

// lend me your ears; // famous words uttered by Antony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. I came to Seattle Academy not knowing any Shakespeare save // “To be or not to be, that is the question.” Over the past four years, I have indulged myself in English Romanticism, American History and Government, various forms of art, including (film, clay,) (musical theater,) and (vocal classes.) I have gained an immense amount of knowledge in (chemistry, biology,) (calculus, physics,) and, of course, (life lessons.)

For the past several months, I have been pondering what my last act as a senior at Seattle Academy would be. Originally I had considered singing a reprise from Vocal Revue II, Frank Sinatra’s My Kind Of Town. I also considered creating a film or perhaps just crafting a piece of artwork for the lobby display. But I had already done these things. // I wanted this final moment to reflect a core attribute that Seattle Academy has given me. (pause)

Seattle Academy is place for experimentation; a place to try things that one might not otherwise venture to try. I have never given a speech before, nor have I talked in front of this many people. // This is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

This speech is my finial assignment. There are no requirements, there is no grade. It is just me and you. (pause)

When I came to Seattle Academy four years ago, I had no history. Before coming here I had never attended the same school for more than two years. Between 1st and 8th grade I attended seven different schools. This may sound like an astonishing number, and it is, // but the simple fact of the mater is that all those schools did not have the flexibility, care, and initiative that Seattle Academy has.

Because of my varied past, I rarely had the chance to actually make long term friendships. Four years is certainly a long time, and I now have many life long friends.

However, calling you all “friends” does not do justice to the love and understanding you have given me. (pause) Over the past years, you have not been just my friends, peers, or teachers: you have been my family. And there really is no way to say goodbye to family.

The best I can do is share with you a key philosophy that I have learned over the years:

It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. *We are explorers.* We explore our lives, day by day. And we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here. Not to conquer you with weapons or ideas, but to co-exist and learn.

My friends, my colleaguesmy family; when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, leaving his homeland and invading Italy, he declared: alea jacta est. The die is cast.

Caesar used the phrase as a metaphor to express the fact that he had crossed the river, and there was no going back. In many ways, our futures are the same. However, it is also important to note that This is not the end. // It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

I have been, and always shall be, your friend. Live long and prosper.