Seeing as how American Thanksgiving has come and gone, as well as our Canadian counterpart for the holiday, I retrospectively realized that I did not vocalize what I was grateful for. Indeed, the typical and redundant topics that arise every year are part of my repertoire of gratitude: a safe home, a loving family, a warm bed, so on and so forth. However, I must say that 2017 has posed a much greater strain on the things that we, as individuals, should be grateful for. The world is not the same place it was, as conflict, disrespect, and a lack of responsibility are more prevalent than they have been in a long while. Within this one year, it appears that as a society, we have normalized the behavior that we should be condemning. That we, in the quest for self expression and identity, have created borders out of ourselves, dividing our society even further. That we have let evil and bigotry froth through the cracks in the foundation of our society, where we believed that we had buried it for good. In all of this, I can’t help but reflect upon the youth I see almost daily and wonder what impact this is having on them. Are the next generations to come, our legacy, being groomed to normalize hate, to pick a side, and to be followers instead of leaders? And if they are to be leaders, is there any idol in our present day that they could be looking up to?
I ask you this because I have come to realize that we, my fellow AP ELA class, are the leaders for our youth. This does not solely apply to the seniors who will be leaving soon, no, this is applicable to us all. I single our class out, because I do not believe there to be another class in our entire school as tightly knit and familial as us. Think about it: we know everyone’s name, their personalty, their mannerisms, and we all know that we belong in Hunnisett’s classroom. In all of my years as a student, I have not seen this in any other class. What I am truly thankful for in my time before I depart into the world, is you, my classmates, as well as you, our educator. For it is this class that I have put my faith in to be role models and leaders.
In our day and age, I have made a worrisome realization: society is losing the ability to think critically. We see it every day on television, in the news, in the paper, and bloody well everywhere. Instead of questioning for ourselves, we submit our minds and let someone else think for us. They then feed us their perspective, and it becomes our truth. This isn’t even solely applicable to people anymore, as we let faceless text online teach us about how we should be thinking. To allow progress and growth, this can not persist. This is why I highly respect our class of thinkers, and encourage us all to participate in the Socratic Seminars we hold. I have heard all of your thoughts and inputs during class, and in your words your own individual thoughts and conclusions are prevalent. Without realizing it, we are all being taught the most important skill that we as a society may be lacking in the not-so-distant future.
There may be lapses in respect for others and their individual thought. You may be pondering how we could all think critically and individually whilst respecting each others personal conclusions, when our own may contradict another’s. To this I say, “Homo sum humani a me nihil alienum puto.” I am a human being, so nothing human is strange to me. We must all work together, come to our own conclusions, respectfully question another’s, reform our own, and arrive at a mutual consensus. The only other option would be to submit and be blindly led through the world as just another voiceless follower.
I encourage that this year, my fellow seniors, before we graduate into a brutal and ever-changing world, that we reflect on what we are thankful for from this class. That we hold dear and cherish the most valuable thing we will have thanks to our teacher and fellow student, Ms. Hunnisett. That we never lose our minds in a world that would make us drones. That the only thing we should fear is fear itself and that Big Brother shall not control us.