May 24, 2018
This is an excerpt from Nicholas Guiang’s ’18 senior speech, delivered on Friday, May 18, to Middle and Upper School students, faculty and staff, in the Nicholson Center. As a school community, we are immensely grateful for his family’s 24-year commitment to Mounds Park Academy.
Today I hold a unique challenge. I am not only thanking you for my time over the past 13 years, but I also hold the responsibility of thanking you for my family’s past 24 years.
For me, this spring signifies the end of those 24 years. It is the end of high school, childhood, and the end of a huge part of my life. In the fall, I will be heading off to Northwestern University to pursue my love of journalism, broadcasting, and sports. On June 9, I will toss my cap in the air on this very stage and these past 13 years, and the 13 years that each of my three older brothers spent here, will simply be the stories of old. However, MPA, you have been more than a school, you have been our home.
I began my journey at MPA when I was less than a week old. My mother held me in her arms as we walked into my brother Matthew’s third grade drama performance. Coincidentally, I was joined at that performance by fellow member of the class of 2018, Kelly Myers, attending her older sister’s performance, also as a newborn. I am happy to say I am one day older than Kelly.
MPA was my home, long before I could walk, or talk, but for the past 13 years, it has given me a place to live, laugh, and love. Here is where I learned the true meaning of “it takes a village to raise a child,” and I am proud to call you my village.
As I sign my final yearbook, and leave MPA for the final time, I will think about the memories I have made here. Every soccer and basketball game, every concert I ever sung or played in, these are the moments I will remember, but what I will miss most, are the familiar faces, nurturing environment, and MPA spirit. Thank you.
For my family, there has been no other school or community they would rather be a part of. My parents enrolled my oldest brother, Andrew, in Kindergarten in the fall of 1994 and never looked back. Without regret, they would do it all over again just the same because they understood that without you, MPA, my brothers and I would not be who we are. You gave us more than an intellectual education, but an education on how to be a better human being. You molded our character and pushed us as people. You taught us more than to be nice and kind, but how to truly “dream big” and “do right.” Our lives are built around those values.
MPA, you have given my family a home away from home. Time and time again we found ourselves spending hours here not wanting to leave. Whether it was attending sporting events, or band concerts, you showed us what a great and supportive community looks like. I imagine my parents could tell you all the things that have changed at MPA over these 24 years: the addition of the Lansing Center and the Upper School Commons, new teachers, new lunch menus, but for my family, one thing has stayed consistent, the MPA spirit. I don’t mean the “rah rah” of students at pep rallies, but the essence of what MPA is.
To the Guiang Family, MPA has been a way of life. To live with love, integrity, and respect for all. To work tirelessly for others. To lead with a gentle hand, not an iron fist. To question and speak out when others may stay silent. And most importantly, to follow your passions. MPA, you are the bed rock of the Guiang family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.