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‘A Hand of Friendship, An Hour of Teaching, A Moment to Believe’

Goleta Valley Junior High grad Sophie D'Arcy defines the kind of nation we are.

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After their promotion ceremony, Sophie D’Arcy, top right, shares a photo opportunity with her Goleta Valley Junior High classmates. (Sharon Eve photo)

[Editor’s note: Goleta Valley Junior High eighth-grader Sophie D’Arcy delivered these remarks at the school’s promotion ceremony Thursday. Click here for a complete list of the GVJHS Class of 2008.]

Good Morning!

When I thought about writing a promotion speech, I wasn’t sure what I would say to you. Then I realized how these last two years at Goleta Valley Junior High School have been so profound for me.

I came to GV from a small school with only 14 kids in my sixth-grade class. Entering seventh grade, I knew a grand total of six people. I made new friends during my first days here and then continued to make friends — unique, talented and funny people.

I could tell you more about how great these last two years have been and share many examples, like how it’s a miracle my eyeglasses are still intact after getting hit in the face so many times with footballs, dodge balls and soccer balls; or how amazing it was to sing and dance in Fiddler on the Roof and Anything Goes. But I would like to focus on something I came to understand more deeply during my time here at GV … the value and importance of our relationships with each other.

While we have been studying and socializing here these past two years, we know it hasn’t been a rosy picture in the world outside of GV. Global climate change, humanitarian crises, and problems of social and economic injustice continue. With these problems in the world today, our relationships with each other matter more than ever before. I need you and we need each other. Together, we will make it work.

Forty years ago, in another time of crisis, Robert F. Kennedy said, “It is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are, and what direction we want to move in.”

I would respond Mr. Kennedy’s words in this way: The kind of nation we are is one of many colors, religions, beliefs and abilities, with the capacity for extraordinary love and compassion. Fear can scare us and indifference can divide us, but at the end of the day, our caring for one another is what defines us and what defines our future.

I have learned a lot in my math, social studies, English, science, P.E. and performing arts classes. Yet it is the people, the friendships, and the kindness I have experienced that will be at the heart of my memories of Goleta Valley Junior High.

To every person who has offered a hand of friendship, an hour of teaching, a moment to believe in each one of us, thank you. And to my fellow classmates, congratulations and I’ll see you at DP.

Sophie D’Arcy will be a freshman at Dos Pueblos High in the fall. She is a co-founder of Kids Speaking Up, a 4-year-old, student-led group dedicated to fighting apathy in young people.

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