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Alumni Stories

Marley Hillman - Eighth Grade Graduation Speech (excerpt)
June 7th 2013

"Oneness is a part of who I am. Because of the 10 years I spent here, learning and growing, I am a much better person than I would have been otherwise.

I once told my mom that there are two places where I feel absolutely comfortable and safe: my home and my school. My home because I grew up there, in the house I've known like the back of my hand since I moved in at 2 years old. And my school because I spend almost all of my waking life here, with good and kind people whom I know well or I want to know better.

Oneness helped me with my self-esteem. I appreciate how the entire Oneness community not only tolerated my fashion decisions, but encouraged me to be unique and stand out from the crowd by expressing my individuality even through my clothes.

Oneness helped me learn more about the world.  When President Obama mentioned in his inauguration speech the equal rights struggles of Selma, Seneca Falls, and Stonewall, I already knew to what he was referring. Not only have I learned a lot about equal rights, but also about the beliefs and practices of different religions and the diversity of the world.

... We may never be able to reach perfection, complete equality, or world peace, but we can strive for it. As I leave Oneness to pursue my life beyond, there will always be a part of me that works to spread peace around the world. I'll never forget the amazing 10 years I spent here."

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