When I was a little girl, much younger than all of the young ladies sitting before me today, my favorite movie was The Wizard of Oz. I could watch it over and over again; much to my parents dismay I am sure. The transition from black and white to color, the sparkle of those ruby slippers, that twisting yellow brick road, and the beautiful Emerald City, where they can even dye your eyes to match your gown…not to mention a beautiful young heroine and a wicked old witch- it was the joy of my childhood whenever it was on the television.
Although I am not quite as “obsessed” with the film today, I still do watch it when it is on and more and more, it brings tears to my eyes. For in essence, the film is all about the transformation from an unsure young girl to a strong and empowered young woman…and in many ways, it tells the story of each and every young lady sitting before me today. Ladies, you are mere moments away from leaving Saint Dominic Academy; a world as unique and as special as Oz itself. Granted, we do not have yellow brick roads or flying monkeys, but over the past four, and for three of you the past five years, a life changing journey has taken place; a journey that will set you on the path for the rest of your life.
You came to SDA in the 8th or 9th grade as suddenly as that tornado dropped Dorothy into Oz. Overwhelmed, a bit confused, more than a bit disoriented, you immediately had to get to know and work with all the people who inhabited the world of Saint Dominic Academy. From the first period on your first day of school, your feet were upon an invisible yellow brick road. Just like in the film, the road turned in various ways, sometimes leading you to a new friendship that you now treasure in your heart, sometimes leading you into a situation in which you needed to work hard to overcome.
At times, you may have sought the advice of a wise mentor and at times, you may have needed to discover your inner strengths on your own. However, each and every one of you persevered, grew stronger, and grew more confident as you journeyed through high school. Today is the culmination of that journey and although I have no ruby slippers to give you; let me call to your minds the scene in the film where Dorothy realizes she has had the power to return to Kansas all the time. The gift to make yourself happy, to make yourself successful, to become the best person you can be resides inside of each of you, and has from the moment you took your first breath. Our role as your guides and helpers is done; it is now your turn to head off on your next adventure and I wish you the best of luck on whatever roads you follow in the future.
It is now time for me to say goodbye to you and I think it is only fitting that I use the words Dorothy herself used to say her final goodbye to the Scarecrow…”I will miss you most of all.” Congratulations, Class of 2018 and you will be loved always.