Graduation — and a Diploma

Wow—I’ve turned 21 years old, my time in high school is now over, and I’ve earned my diploma. I feel ready to move on, but I’ll miss seeing friends and teachers every day…that’s probably the biggest transition for me. Plus the predictable discipline of the school schedule. But, it’s time to invent my future, to create it one step at a time.

To mark this life-milestone, we celebrated with a big holiday graduation party. I feel so blessed by the many wonderful people who care about me. Thank you, all! I truly had the most wonderful last semester that any high-school student could imagine:

I got to make music every day, singing in both the big Festival Choir and Chivalry (the men’s choir that meets weekly, before school—so I was up at 5:00 on those mornings). Repertoire this semester was some of the best ever, and very complex. Some samples:  Mary, Molly and June by Vaclav Nelhybel   and   Nordic Polska by the Real Group  I also loved rehearsing with my a capella quartet, learning Billy Joel’s Longest Time. And, a special Fairview ritual that I’ll miss—gathering in the lobby with other singers at the end of each week to serenade departing students with the “Friday Song.”

My passion for staying healthy was supported by both fitness class and Zumba dance (although I’ve been dealing with patellar tendinitis all semester, which forced me to take it easy—a bit of a bummer there). I’ve loved being involved with various fitness classes during my entire time in high-school, building good life-long exercise habits.

autumn 2015

I got to expand my creativity, writing up interviews for Fairview’s Royal Banner newspaper. I focused on humorous anecdotes and on the little events that can happen in people’s lives which then shape them in a huge way (just like in my TED talk—I highlighted such events from my own life). I also had a jokes column called “Benjamin’s Royal Banter.” Here’s the link to my first published article:

I took pottery for the first time, and the teacher gave us such beautiful inspirations:  expressing a specific feeling through clay (I made two pieces showing joy); a project titled, “Beyond the Human Eye” (I picked a view from the inside of a bee’s eye); a creation based on a favorite piece of music (mine was Lake Isle by Ola Gjeilo who is one of my favorite choral composers ever, and Festival choir was rehearsing that song throughout the semester ); “Surrealism” (I carved a gryphon into a bowl-shaped piece of clay); and a final choice project (I made an angelfish paperweight). I loved this class, and loved the feel of clay in my hands—I often went to the studio during open times like lunch or learning lab, enjoying the quiet, meditative time, creating.

joy pottery 1

I also worked on cooking skills during catering class, gearing up for becoming an adult and helping my mom around the kitchen.

Then, my very last events of the semester were the two big holiday choir concerts, with Chivalry performing one evening, and Festival Choir the next. As always, I sang in the big massed choir as well; the final good-bye was Silent Night, the choir slowly leaving the audience and fading away, sounding like angel music—a beautiful way to end my days as a high-school student.

Holiday Choir Concert

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