Calais Nobuhara ’17 delivered this speech at Baccalaureate on May 28, 2017.
On the last day of every school year, each student is given a yearbook. Whether it’s the glossy Na ‘Opio or the hardcover Oahuan, these books are a representation of the long year behind us. As we flip through the pages and compose long messages in our Sharpie pens, we don’t remember the rough, stressful times. Instead, we are proud of the year we completed as we prepare ourselves for whatever chapter will come next.
While digging through the dusty shelves of my grandparents’ house, I discovered my dad’s senior year Oahuan. The 41-year-old book was a fossil, barely held together by its frail spine. When we dusted off the pages and cracked open the cover, we found a collection of timeless memories. We scanned over the faces that were unfamiliar to me, but my dad laughed as he recognized the class clowns and pointed out the sharpest kids in his grade. He told me where his classmates were now, whether he stayed in touch with them, or if they became the president of the United States.
Finally, we came across the signatures. As we deciphered each message scribbled on the age-stained pages, my dad told stories about every student who had left their mark in his yearbook. We slowly uncovered memories of the friends he would grab food with off campus, the times they had gotten in trouble together, and his legendary prom-night adventure. After we closed the book and replaced it on the shelf, I could see that my dad was still wrapped in nostalgia from traveling through time.
In the years after we graduate, we will remember our time at Punahou with the same love and sentimentality. Fifty years from now, we will grab our yearbooks off the shelf and recall each memory, good or bad, sad or funny. Every victory, challenge, laugh and tear will be captured in a photograph or signature. But these stories will just be stories to those not in our class; only we will remember how we truly felt in those moments.
This class, the Class of 2017, has formed an unbreakable bond throughout our time at Punahou. Each student here has affected your life in one way or another, in ways you might not even be aware of. They might have offered you a pencil when you didn’t have one, or a shoulder to cry on when you thought no one would be there. They have been by your side and touched your life in some way. Look to your right and to your left; these are the faces that will be placed next to yours in the senior section, in the pages that will forever bind us.
Today may be a day of remembering the times before this moment, but I also want us to consider all of the memories we can still create. Right now our experiences are real, fresh and fleeting. Let’s use our limited time left together to make more memories and cherish those who are a part of them, because the best is yet to come.