A for Athlete
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Background[]

At the end of the 2008-2009 school year, Pittsburgh Frick 6-8 closed and became a defunct school. The school would move to a new location, Reizenstein, with different grades, 6-12, and be called Pittsburgh Obama Academy of International Studies 6-12.

The promotion speech from Erik Rauterkus was the final promotion speech ever for Frick.

Promotions Speech[]

by Erik Rauterkus, June 2009 for Pittsburgh Frick 6-8
  • Statisticians in the field of education conclude, one out of three of us won't graduate high school.
  • Statistics say that for 49 of our close friends in this room,today will be their, your, or my, last graduation.
  • If you believe in statistics, seven of us will die before high school graduation -- due to acts of violence that could have been avoided.
    • That means any 7 of us have less then 4 years to live. Going down the wrong path one day makes a terminal mistake that day.

If you believe “statistics” and what the adults who don't know us say -- then those are the facts.

I don’t agree. I don't believe them. Their statistics suck. I don’t believe in statistics like that for this class. My best friends and classmates, I did believe in statistics, until I spent three truly memorable years with this class. I don’t believe what some adult statistician says when he has not spent a day with any one of us, let alone us together.

We have spent three years together at Frick. I have learned to expect the unexpected. I don’t want to sound corny, but let us, this class dismantle statistics that hold us down. Let this class shock “statisticians” who say that 49 of us will not graduate high school. Let this class as Troy Bolton would say; “break the status quo.”

After spending what seems like forever with you I can honestly say from my heart; I believe in you. I hope you believe in me and every one else, because you really should. But most importantly, believe in us, because when we act together, I have seen “US” do things that no one could imagine.

The last three years of all of our lives has been exciting. There have been amazing moments -- Moments that will never be forgotten in our hearts. There have been momentous times that have changed our lives. And there have been moments that may not have been all that fun and challenging to overcome. Some times have been just and others maybe unjust.

But looking at our class sitting right in front of me I can truly say; it has been an amazing run. Our ride of happiness and challenges has made us all take huge steps to adulthood.

I would like thank our teachers and adults in the school for helping us. Mostly, I thank them because they were always there. For each of us, they were there for different reasons. However, always there. When we needed to be motivated, taught, or deal with trouble, they were present.

I am not going to let my future be wheeled by some statistic. No! My future will be crafted by me and the design I construct. I will not let some statistic close all the openness in my horizon. No statistic will shape my life.

Now, follow me. Follow each other and strive to destroy statistics of conclusions. We have not even reached a hypothesis. Let us, class, come together even closer now than we have ever been, to rewrite data and change people’s views on today’s urban youth. We can do that, and we have the power in “US” to do that.

Now standing in front of you all, my friends, I'm able to say the last thing I say with everyone listening.

I say let this class of people I trust more then anyone else in the world, let this class, our class; redraft and recast expectations. I plan to. But now, let this class, our class ignore statistics. We are a special chosen class. And, we can choose to ignore oppressive statistics that burden us from fearful adults.

Into the future, when we graduate high school, and years forward as we each graduate college, we won't be there for each other like we are now. Now, we are together. We are present. We are here to lean upon each other next week, next month, next year, and at the next schools we attend. And, we are sure to get stronger.

So, let's go on to live the best life any of us can. I know we can. Now lets do it.

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