Taps to & from Caregivers: A Graduation Speech


The graduating class of 2005 in Thorne Bay, Alaska received this graduation speech from me, their former teacher. The message is a solid one for everyone but especially those with chronic illnesses. Here’s to our caregivers and the many taps they give to us each day.

Welcome to the last moments of your senior year, your last moments of your secondary education, the final moments you will walk through these halls as students. Your role is changing. You are no longer the child but soon to be the adult.

It takes a community to raise a child. And we are to be congratulated for a job well done!

As a community we know our role in raising the children amongst us. We protect and educate our young, guide our youth, and provide events to fill your days with fun and learning. People involved in assisting you along the way are called assets in the education world. It takes numerous assets to raise a child.

(student hands balloon to me, drop down to waiting student, student taps it to the audience, small group of students tap a few balloons to keep them in the air during speech while audience keeps single balloon bouncing through air)

Take these balloon for example. Let’s say the balloons represent a student. How often does it need a tap to keep it from falling? Who will pick it up when it lands on the ground? Each time you had someone there to help you with your education, your play time, your sports events, the bomb fires, dances, trips, one-on-one, etc. you had an asset. We tried to be there for you and in doing so, you touched our lives.

You see for all the efforts we have done to keep you floating, every time we gave you that tap, you tapped us back. There is a little piece of each and every one of us in you and a piece of you in every one of us. You gave us years of memories. Seniors, here are some those memories you gave to us…


Most graduation speeches talk about responsibilities, the future, your role in society. Over the years I have given you this speech, you know it well, but will you remember it every day when life gets busy?

Each day has a date and you can write this date down on paper one time in history. Life is short, shorter for some than others. None of us know how many days we have and therefore we must take the time to appreciate the good things that come our way no matter how small.

Rise to the challenge of adulthood. We are proud of you! Now there is your future waiting for you outside!

The Senior Class of 2005!

Image info: Sutton Cook, my oldest is on the right in blue! Proud Mom!

About the Author

Melissa Cook
Melissa Cook is the author of www.MSsymptoms.me. As a retired high school teacher and school district administrator, she chooses to share her MS story in hopes of benefiting others.