Valedictorian: Jaiden Edelman

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Jaiden Edelman, the class valedictorian, described graduating high school as a launchpad. — Jeremy Driesen

Hello everyone. First of all, I would like to thank you all for being so accommodating with our current situation, and I hope you have been staying happy and healthy over the past couple of months. Seniors, we’re done. That’s it; it’s over. Just like that. Congratulations to all; truly, everyone here has worked incredibly hard to get to this point.

I am so relieved to see that, despite some scary and frustrating circumstances, we are all together, celebrating the closing of our high school careers. I want to personally thank every teacher, administrator, and staff member of MVRHS, as they have dedicated their careers to helping us navigate the transition from childhood to adulthood, from immaturity to responsibility, from ignorance to cognizance. During the last months of online classes, some of us may have realized that we, dare I say, missed school. It’s a weird feeling, like becoming friends with an old enemy. From the student art that decorated every hallway to the cry of “Safety goggles on please!” from one of the science rooms, and even that annoying guy who did the announcements every morning; the atmosphere of MVRHS was entirely unique, and we have successfully navigated through it.

I would like to bring up Albert Einstein; I promise that this part isn’t that boring. Einstein’s theory of relativity concludes that contradictory observations about the universe can be equally valid. For example, if two people float past each other in space, both can think that they are stationary and the other person passes them. They are technically both right; each viewpoint is entirely valid in the eyes of physics. Take that in for a second. This is an inherent property of the universe; absolute truth does not exist. I think all of us can benefit from understanding the arbitrariness of the cosmos. Every single one of us believes that we are right the vast majority of the time; nobody walks around believing they are wrong about everything. That’s just not how people work. Right and wrong are defined differently for every individual here. Truth isn’t well defined, and nobody really knows as much as they pretend to. Open-mindedness is a term that’s commonly thrown around, but at its core is Einstein’s relativity; maybe multiple people with differing views can both be right or maybe there is no right answer to begin with. In any case, thinking of the world in terms of “rights” and “wrongs” may just be counterproductive. As we spread out from our little island community, maybe we can surround ourselves with people we agree with and people we don’t. If we’re feeling especially daring, we might even become friends with people from Nantucket. The amount of perspective we can gain from interacting with others is limitless.

Let’s get back to our buddy, Einstein. He also studied the nature of time. Essentially, he concluded that time is not a universally constant phenomenon; in fact, it moves at different rates at different points in the universe. For example, if you are moving really, really, really fast, time slows down for you, and you’re pretty much time travelling to the future. You can’t get back to the present though, so I wouldn’t recommend trying it at home, but it’s fun to think about. And no, I am not kidding; this is a real science thing, look it up. What interests me about this is how malleable the world is, how much the universe is willing to shift due to the actions of just one individual. It is incredibly easy to base our hopes and ambitions off of pre-existing benchmarks, and it is even easier to rate our happiness in terms of others. All it takes is a shift in perspective to see everyone as exactly one member of humanity, no more no less. I think the world and its infinite possibilities expand before those who let go of those benchmarks and comparisons. There is no limit to what we can accomplish. There is no cap to how much we can improve society. Why should there be? The laws of physics apply to everyone equally, but they also ripple and bend for everyone. It’s up to us to move fast enough to create those ripples.

Over the past four years, we have all grown and changed beyond what we thought possible back in middle school. I am incredibly excited to see how we all grow and change over the next four, and the four after that, and the decades that follow. None of us know where we’re going to end up or how the rest of our life plays out, but if we did know those things, life would be pretty boring wouldn’t it? There are so many cool and beautiful things that populate this journey we call life, too many to possibly fully explore. Graduating high school is the launchpad; we’ve spent the past four years working to be the best students and the best people we can be. The fuel is all there; now we can light the fuse and blast off to make our impact on the world.

Since I never got the chance to make a final morning announcement, I would like to do so right now. *beep* “Good morning MVRHS, for the final time. Today’s schedule is completely free once we get through this graduation. Happy National Coffee Milkshake day! Yum. It’s been a pleasure being alongside all of you for the past four years, and I am truly honored to be a part of such an amazing class. Thank you and I hope you have a fantabulistic afternoon.”