Katie Kratcha Commencement Speech

by Free Speech on June 9, 2009

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Lodi, WI
6/9/07
by Katie Kratcha

Hello everyone, I hope you are not yet tired of hearing nervous teenagers speak to hundreds of people, including their teachers, friends and family.  If you are, I assure you I won’t notice the glazed look in your eyes, and if you are not, then I applaud your stamina.

I too thank you all for coming today, and have only one addition to make to all of those who deserve our gratitude: Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived.  I have been a Harry Potter fan since the third grade, when the first book came out, and in the subsequent decade I have followed his story so closely that eventually no one except my mother would play me in my Harry Potter Trivial
Pursuit board game.  I remember turning eleven and hoping I would receive the admissions letter from Hogwarts.  Unfortunately, I never got the letter and had to amuse myself by wishing I had the power to “accio” the remote from across the room.  I doubt this is quite normal, but I would bet a lottery ticket that if you turn to your left and turn to your right, one of you three has experienced the cultural phenomenon that is Harry Potter.

Even though I was not accepted into the school of witchcraft and wizardry, Hogwarts still taught some things to muggles like me.  Lesson one is that you cannot do it alone.  Harry was very alone before attending Hogwarts, Dudley hardly counts as company; but after entering the wizarding world and winning friends by, of all things, sharing a cart full of candy and fighting off a
mountain troll, he was never alone in his endeavors.  We all need a little help from our friends sometimes, whether it is in the form of replacing a nasty corn-beef sandwich with some Chocolate Frogs or breaking rules to save someone from a giant, snotty monster with a big stick.  So as we all enter a different world next year, remember that  it’s good to have friends, and a good way to make friends is to save them from dangerous situations, or to just share your desk drawer that is secretly full of candy.  Once you’ve done one of those two things the other person should be your friend, and ideally be willing to return the favor.  Thank god Hannah likes chocolate; I don’t know if I could take on a full-size mountain troll, seeing as I have no magical ability.

In any case, once their friendship was established, Harry, Ron and Hermione were notorious for doing what was right, even if it was dangerous, stupid, nearly impossible or against the rules.  Usually their crusade could be considered all four.  Now I’m not saying that you should agree to sneak a baby dragon up to the highest rooftop of your school in the dead of night at the risk of being caught, punished, and shunned by your classmates for losing a ton of house points so that your half-giant friend can stay out of jail, but it is a great show of friendship and loyalty.  What I am saying is that when you are faced with the choice between what is right and what is easy, choose what is right, because some things are more important than rules and the opinions of others.  Heck, I’m giving my graduation speech about the virtues of Harry Potter—I have to believe what I’m saying is right, because it’s not going to please everyone, but I chose it nonetheless.

Choices are a big deal in the Harry Potter books, often literally the difference between life and death.  Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, according to some the greatest headmaster Hogwarts has ever seen, once said that “it is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” This is my favorite quote from the series, because the idea behind his words gives everyone potential.  There can be people like Neville Longbottom, people who start out as the fat, scared little kid with a chronically absent pet toad, people whom everyone makes fun, of but eventually grow up to be leaders and heroes.  People like Harry, who live through abuse and neglect but still choose to do the good and right thing whenever the opportunity arises.  Call me a dork, but that’s why I like Harry Potter—everyone has a chance, everything depends on what you choose to do with yourself.

So here, at the metaphorical Platform Nine-and-three-quarters, I want to thank you all again for raising us, feeding us, teaching us, and buying us Harry Potter books.  I promise our days of asking for money, material possessions and sustenance will eventually end, but I don’t promise to stop asking for other, less material things.  Now I have just a few more words to say: “Nitwit! Oddment!  Blubber!  Tweak!”

Thank you

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