An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by J’Dyn Plater and Aidan Kyle, members of the Class of 2019

Following is an excerpt from the speech by J’Dyn Plater and Aidan Kyle, who were chosen by their classmates to speak at Commencement 2019.

J’Dyn: Well, first of all, we would just like to congratulate the entire class of 2019 on graduating! … These four years have definitely shaped all of us as people and given us a foundation on which to build our lives.

Aidan: In addition, we would like to thank everyone for electing us to speak. It is a tremendous honor to be speaking on behalf of a class with so many incredible people in it. …

J’Dyn: We would also like to recognize that none of this would have possible without the fantastic guidance of our wonderful teachers, some of whom are leaving this year. We wish we could thank every single teacher at this school, but we only have ten minutes, so there are three teachers who are graduating with us we would like to quickly thank for the amount of time and support they’ve put into this school.

Aidan: First, I would like to say thank you to Mr. Doelger. I’ve never had you as a teacher, and I don’t think we’ve ever had a conversation, but I hear that everyone likes you a lot and you seem really cool, so thank you.

J’Dyn: I would also like to say thank you to Mr. Doelger for always being someone that everyone can look up to and admire. I’ve heard so many stories about your classes and the memories you have shared with other students and faculty. … yours is a legacy that will live on forever.

Aidan: Second of all, it is imperative that we thank Mr. Henry. If I could sum up Mr. Henry using just one word, the choice is simple: gravitas. The man has a certain aura about him when he enters a room. His presence is always a blessing no matter what the setting: a classroom, advisory, or deciding the playlist for “Funky Friday,” as he likes to call it. I am certain that Lakeside will never have another teacher like Mr. Henry, and I thank you for everything you have done for me and this school.

J’Dyn: Mr. Henry, you have been someone that I can often turn to when I need support and whatever that support may be, I always leave a conversation with you feeling like I learned something that I can take with me into the rest of my life. Thank you for always being there for me and being more than a teacher – being a friend.

J’Dyn: The third and final person we’d like to thank is Chip, or Mr. Mehring. Chip! I remember you leading my 8th grade kayaking trip and I remember all the times you spent making sure that everyone on the trip had a great time. The fact that you have always been willing and excited to travel with a group of a rowdy teenagers on trips to the middle of nowhere, shows both your character and heart. You will truly be missed. Thank you.

Aidan: Chip, I remember when you drove my outdoor trip group to our hiking spot up in the Cascades in a little yellow minibus. Let me just say that I’ve never seen someone maneuver a minibus with such incredible confidence, speed, and precision. … But in all seriousness, Chip’s elite minibus handling ability is a testament to his service at Lakeside, because his comfort and experience behind the wheel shows how much time he has put into creating memorable experiences for Lakeside students through the Lakeside Outdoors Program, and for that reason, we thank you Chip.

J’Dyn: Now, let me take y’all back to freshman year. It’s the year 2015. I remember us all coming in, scraggly looking teenagers, fresh out of middle school. It was exciting; it was new. I can assure you we were all nervous and hoping to make new friends. You can imagine our horror as we stepped out of the car, first day of high school, and were immediately met with the excited shouts of the entire senior class as they began throw an endless amount of candy at us. It was actually really nice to know they were THAT excited to see us.

Aidan: … [It] speaks to the type of place that Lakeside is. It is a place that creates unique people and I hope everyone continues to carry on the Lakeside legacy for the rest of our lives.

J’Dyn: We are grateful to have spent the past four years with some the kindest, most caring, wonderful people in the world. It sounds cheesy, but I can honestly say that I am so proud of each and every one of you. … I think this year in particular has shown everyone all of the potential that we hold, as a class, for being great leaders in the future. I have seen each and every one of you, every day, be kind and genuine and overall just great role models to the underclassmen.

Aidan: I have often wondered whether or not I will remember everyone in this class when I am 30, 50, or 70 years old. I can’t promise that I will remember each of you, but I can say one thing for certain: I will certainly remember this day of celebration. And you are all part of this day. I just ask the same thing of everyone in this crowd. Just remember this day. You can think about all the great, or terrible, things you did in high school, but this day, the culmination of four years, is the only thing you need to remember. Remember every detail that you can from this moment, and let it stick with you as long as possible.

J’Dyn: I personally want to say thank you to each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. I can’t tell you how much it makes my day when I’m walking through the halls and someone takes the time to simply say hi or smile in my direction. … I want you to know that all of you have something extremely special held right in your hearts. And I hope you keep that for the rest of your lives because I can guarantee that you will impact others in the same way as you’ve impacted me.

Aidan: I’ve been listening to a lot of musical artists recently trying to get some inspirational lyrics that I could use as some parting words for this speech. I started out with the great Bob Dylan, but his lyrics were confusing and made no sense to me. Then I went for Pulitzer Prize winning rapper Kendrick Lamar, but his lyrics had too many curse words that are probably not appropriate for this setting. The Backstreet Boys gave me nothing, surprisingly. But then I finally went for Adele and listened to her song “When we were young.” The lyrics “Let me photograph you in this light in case it is the last time” were just perfect. I’d just say, I wish I could photograph all of you in this light in case it is the last time that we’re all together again. You all have given me so much in so many different ways, and I’m so grateful for the memories, laughs, and lessons I’ve learned from you. So, if there’s one thing we can leave you with this afternoon, it’s that you’ll have the song “When we were young” by Adele stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Thank you.