It was a typical Saturday morning on March 24, 1984 when the most unlikely group of kids met – a criminal, a brain, a princess, a basket case, and an athlete – and, after spending the day stuck in the library together, became immortalized as the “breakfast club”. That day would mark the beginning of changed perspectives, greater acceptance, and a sense of unity among a diverse group of juvenile delinquents, or rather, typical high school students.
The Chaffee County High School class of 2016 chose the song “Don’t You Forget about Me”, by Simple Minds, from The Breakfast Club soundtrack, to represent themselves as they walk across the stage to celebrate their high school career. The Breakfast Club portrays the language and style of the 80s, but more importantly, it represents student dynamics that remain untouched by time. This classic movie begins and ends with this song, and ends with a letter written by the self-proclaimed Breakfast Club in response to Principal Vernon’s unrealistic assignment of writing an essay describing who they each think they are. The final letter reads:
Dear Mr. Vernon: We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But, we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But, what we found out is that each one of us is: a brain . . .
And an athlete . . .
And a basket case . . .
A princess . . .
And a criminal.
Does that answer your question?
Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.
So what does this statement say about the Chaffee County High School Class of 2016? CCHS is a place where you have been given the opportunity to develop into a diverse and eclectic group of people. If this were a larger traditional school you all would have likely fit into one of the stereotypes: a brain, an athlete, a princess, a criminal, a basket case… And while there is nothing wrong with a label, or being surrounded by classmates with similar tastes, there is something to be said about being constantly challenged by peers in different social circles.
Each member of this class is not part of just one category, but a unique blend of them all. As you go out into the world, the test of who you are and what you want to become begins. These combinations will change as your perspectives of the world change, so it is now more important than ever to think independently, to stay true to your beliefs, and to stay morally strong.
With that said, each one of you has brought your unique strengths to our CCHS family.
Erin: You and I started at CCHS on the same day. I had the pleasure to watch you grow from a slightly angry teenager, to the hard working, independent strong woman you are today. Although I missed seeing your face every day this year, you were able to work a job almost full time while still emailing and communicating with teachers to finish your school work. Your work ethic is like no other, and your polite and friendly demeanor will serve you well in your life. Thank you.
Sean: The Burdge! My favorite moments with you are at our school overnights. The first is when I heard the words “You Dare Me?” …which ended up with your rear end through a wall. The second, I actually have a video of you belting out a Taylor Swift song without holding back. Your upbeat attitude and natural goofiness are so enjoyable to have at our school, as well as your ability to lose your binder five seconds after holding it, are matched by no other. You could never be replaced! Thank you.
Sydney: You are the first student that I have seen set a goal to graduate in December, commit, and achieve it. You are amazing. Your smile when you walked into the building always made my day, and you completed what you needed to always with that smile. I admire your ability to stay positive, communicate in an adult way, and be true to yourself. Thank you.
Eli: WOW is all I have to say. I have only known you this one year, and you are such a smart, hard worker, that you couldn’t keep yourself from graduating! Your calm, friendly demeanor and honest character is so welcome to our school. You are the one student that would finish your contract on Thursday, but still wake up early and come to school at 7am on a Friday to make us breakfast burritos, and man were they good! Good luck in your next adventure. Thank you.
Alissa: Your time at CCHS was short, but I am so impressed by your drive and effort to finish five credits in just a couple of months. You set your mind to it and accomplished your goal for yourself and your new family. You were able to come here in April and earn your diploma when many others would have given up. Thank you.
Seth: I have truly never met anyone like you. I have appreciated the long conversations and debates we have had in my office. I am continuously impressed by your high moral standards, consideration of others, and eloquent speech. I am so intrigued to see where you end up, and how you are going to use your public speaking attributes… and most of all, I will miss that feeling of fear and panic watching you fall over in your chair during Monday morning meeting. Thank you.
Aubrey: You have been through an incredible amount in the last two years I have known you. Your strength to push on, and to take care of others over yourself is both impressive and unbelievable. It is now time to take care of you, and you have proven that you can do it. Your strength, ability to persevere and work hard, and your friendly and caring nature will get you far in life. Thank you.
Austin: I am so impressed with the strength that it took to come back this year and finish your work to graduate in December. It was an honor to see your growth, perseverance, and friendly face and demeanor. I look forward to see you reaching your goals and hopefully will run into you somewhere abroad while you are sailing around the world. Thank you.
Morgan: Over the time you were at CCHS, I feel like I got to spend some quality time with you, and I appreciate your honesty, your high standards for yourself, and your strength to overcome to get things done. It was fascinating to see your growth from the battle of English Skills, to taking charge and self-editing your Service Learning grant several times to make sure it was just right. I love your independent nature; you are not a follower but are thoughtful about how things are accomplished, organized, and presented. I have enjoyed your perspective, and I look forward to seeing where you end up on your journey. Thank you.
Brandi: Oh Brandi, Chaffee County High School will not be the same without you. It was so fun to help you put together your portfolio and look through all the work you did and the progress you made at CCHS. You are a force at our school, and a born leader. When I started at CCHS, you showed me the ways and what it meant to be part of the CCHS family, and you were a true advocate for our school. You can take control and ignite people in a way no other can, and you can be soft and sensitive when you want to. Thank you.
Patrick: You are one of the most unique and cool people I have ever met. I love your honesty, sincerity, and commitment to school and your community. You were here every single day at 7:30 (or earlier!), ready to go. You committed wholeheartedly to every trip you took, and were a true pleasure to be around at CCHS. You are able to talk to every person with the same amount of respect and dignity, and you worked hard every single day to accomplish your goals. You will be missed by everyone. Thank you.
Khylie: You are one of the most strong, independent young ladies I have ever met. You do not follow the traditional path, and your independent drive is impressive. You set your mind to graduating early and were able to do it. I have also had the pleasure of seeing who is beneath that tough exterior persona of yours, and she is a beautiful young woman as well. I look forward to see where your path takes you. Thank you.
Family and friends, thank you for being here. Seniors, under your chair, you will find your senior gift. I chose a small cactus plant for each of you. When I read the meaning behind this plant, it made me think of each and every one of you: “endurance, thriving despite challenges.” Please, keep thriving, stay passionate, compassionate, have integrity, and be true to yourselves. Cheers to you all and CONGRATULATIONS!