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Speech to the Honors Students of Kennedy Kenrick


This speech was given on May 4, 1999.....I hope you enjoy it


       Good evening members of the faculty and staff of Kennedy-Kenrick, 
family and friends, and of course those who we are honoring tonight--the students.  
My name is Anthony Tomassi, and I am currently a junior at Villanova University, 
where I am a Biology/Pre-med major.  In just a few short days, I will be 
finished yet another school year, and I am currently facing the most dreadful 
week a college student could ever face....that of final examinations.  Yet, 
I did not let that stop me from coming here tonight to let you all know how 
your accomplishments are truly great, and how very proud everyone here is 
of all that you have done.
        In 1992, I began high school at Archbishop Kennedy, and took part
in the merger of the Kennedy and Bishop Kenrick the following year.  Looking 
back on that occasion, I cannot imagine never having gone to Kennedy Kenrick 
Catholic High School.  The friends I made here are friends I will have for 
life, and the unparalleled education I recieved here has helped me gain an 
advantage over fellow students in my college years.  Tonight, I speak to you 
with the knowledge and intimacy of an one time student of this school when I 
say to you that this is a great school, and the memories you make and have 
made here are memories you will cherish forever.  
        In 1995, I was thrilled when I was offered the chance to become a 
Diocesan Scholar, and attended Villanova in the afternoons of my senior
year of high school.  Besides that, I served as the editor of the literary
magazine, assisted in the editing of the yearbook, and was the executive 
producer of the Television news, under which I created the school's first
video yearbook.  I am still fond of those mornings at the TV station, and
the frantic way in which each of the parts of the video yearbook was assembled
into the final product.  I'll always remember the most infamous commercial
we produced for the chance drive that year.  One of the prizes being offered,
and I kid you not, was a drive on Sister Janet's Lark at an assembly to be
held sometime at the end of the drive.  When it came time for the ad to be
produced, Miss Mann wanted something to get the students excited, and I 
suggested that we do a music video with Sister Janet driving around the school
on her lark.  The day of the ad, we requested the help of some of the school's
funniest guys, and I shot footage of them chasing her up and down the halls.
Needless to say, it wasn't enought to produce a music video, and nobody really
expected that to be the result of our filming session.  Therefore, it came
as a shock when the ad was played on monday to find Sister Janet riding around
with the music, "She's got it...yeah baby she's got it.....I'm your venus."  
Playing in the background.  To this day, my friends still say I was the only
one who could have ever gotten away with that.
        I have a lot of great memories of my times here at Kennedy Kenrick.  
But, my time here was not all fun.  It took time, energy, the support of 
others and belief in myself to pull everything off.  I'll always remember
how scared I was my first day as a Diocesan Scholar at Villanova unsure
if I was truly prepared to get anything more than a low "C".  But, as time
went on I realized that the other students around me did not have any 
advantage over me.  As I rapidly found myself accelling to the top places
in my classes, my confidence grew.  The more I thought about it, the more
I realized that it was due to the education I had recieved at Kennedy
Kenrick.  I began to think about where my writing skills would be without the
guidance of Sister Patrice, my biology knowledge without Mr. D, and my calculus
knowledge without Mr. Loughlin.  Then I realized that how extremely lucky
I was to be touched by so many wonderful people throughout my high school
career.  Therefore, I'd like to take a minute to thank them for providing me
with the base I needed to suceed in college.
        In 1996, I began my official freshman year at Villanova, thankful that
unlike my fellow students I was already farmiliar with the layout of the 
campus, as well as the order of the campus.  By that, I mean that I already
knew about and understood certain days like St. Thomas of Villanova day in
September, and Baloon Day in April.  It was that freshman year that I realized
that all of those Honors and AP coursed really do pay off in the end.  In 
each of my classes I found myself drawing on my high school classes, and I 
found my classes becoming much more fun when I realized that with each new
topic that was introduced, I already had some knowledge of the topic being
discussed.  The spring semester of that year became a true test of my wits, as
I had to take General Biology II, which is commonly known as the "weed-out"
course of the Biology department....where they determine if you are
cut out to be a Biology major.  To top things off, I decided to take the same
Chemistry professor I took the fall semester in the spring, because, even
though he was quite challenging, I had enjoyed the class and learned a lot.
I'll still remember that first day of Chemistry when I discovered that I was
one of only a handful of Biology majors in a sea of engineers that took 
Dr. Ludwig in the spring semester.  These were people who knew Chemistry like
the Pope knows the teachings of the church, and needless to say it was a 
little bit intimidating.  But, after having tasted success the first 
sememster, when I got a 3.95, I decided that I could do better during that
spring semester.  To do good in the face of my greatest challenge would prove
to me that I would be able to accomplish all of my goals if I simply did my
best.  That semester, I got a perfect 4.0 as my GPA, and have recieved the 
same for every semester since.  
        In the spring of that year, by accident, I was mistaken as a Sophomore
and invited to join the Pre-med honors society Alpha Epsilon Delta.  Despite
the society's requirement that I be in my official second year of College, I
was permitted to be inducted that year, and became an active member the year
following.  The following year, I began work on the reinstatement of the 
Biology honors society at Villanova, known as Beta Beta Beta, and am currently
Vice President of the Group.  Also, this year, I was honored with membership
in Phi Kappa Phi, the national honors society which recognizes people who
are in the top five percent of their class in their Junior year, and top ten
in their senior.  Also, this year, together with my friends, I authored a 
controversial article for the school's magazine, the Comment, and hosted a
weekly radio show known as RadioActive.  I also work fifteen to twenty hours
a week at CVS during the school year, and even more during the summer.
        In the summer of my freshman year, a car accident left me with time
off from work, which I used to fulfill a dream of mine...to write about the
lost, forgotten, and unbuilt rides and attracitons of the Walt Disney Company.
That summer, I unveiled the webpage Forgotten Disney: The Lost Legacy, a
small study of the history of Walt Disney World, and the future motives
of the Disney company.  Since then, the page has grown by leaps and bounds, 
attracting a daily readership of well over one hundred and fifty people, and
attaining an overall visitor count off fourty one thousand people, to date.
As the number of people interested in the site continues to grow 
exponentially, I have found myself recently intersted in pursuing a lifelong
dream of mine, to write a book on the topic.  Currenlty I have begun work
on the companion book to the webpage, and hope to continue to do so throughout
the coming year.  
        A lot of people ask me what made me interested in the topic of Disney
in the first place, and why I seem to care so much about why the company has 
suddenly decided to remodel and revise the park.  To answer that question,
I recall the story of how Disneyland in California got its start.  One 
afternoon, Walt Disney decided to take his daughters to an amusement park,
and while he was there he couldn't help but notice how the pathways were 
lined with trash, lights on the rides were burned out, and employees were 
not helpful.  While the daughers still had fun, Disney couldn't help but think
to himself that the people who ran the amusement park could do better.  But
they didn't, because they were satisfied with the park being mediocre as long
as the people still came.  Thus, when he started designing his park, he decided
that he wouldn't settle for the mediocre...only the best.  His park would
be the cleanest, his employees the nicest, his technology the newest.  
Thanks to the work he put in to accomplishing his dream, Disneyland became a
huge success, and continues to be admired by people both in and out of the
industry.  
        If there is only one thing you remember from this speech tonight, it 
is that you should never settle for the mediocre, only the best.  Of course,
I do not need to tell any of you that, because none of you would be here if
you didn't already hold that principle true.  But, its not only an academic
thing.  You must put your best foot forward in everything you do...in your 
jobs, in your social life, in your family life, in your extra cirricular 
activities....in everything.  If you do that constantly, you will taste 
success.  And after a while, you will acquire such a taste for success that 
you will not settle for anything else but the best, both from yourself
and from other people.  To be a dreamer is to be capable of using your
imagination to create your wildest fantasies.  To be successful is to be 
willing to do all of the work, and face all of the challenges, no matter
how hard, to make those dreams come true.  
        I can not stress to you enough tonight that all of you are already
well on the road to reaching success in all of your dreams.  Just remember 
that three short years ago, I sat in those same chairs where you are sitting
right now, with crazy dreams of going to medical school and becoming a 
doctor.  Just one year from now, I will begin my first year of medical 
school, and a few years following, I will finally treat my first patient.  
The other evening, I was feeling depressed about something that had happened 
in my personal life, and I was talking to a friend of mine about dreams
and where I want to go with my life.  She said, "You can do so much with your
knowledge, you can help so many people," and it put everything into 
perspective for me.  By helping others I will be helping myself, because 
helping others can give you the most ultimate joy of all.  Success is not
something you can determine....it all depends on other people.  I would not
consider the webpage a success without the readers and the responses I get
from people who enjoy and appreciate everything I have said.  My favorite
kinds of letters to recieve about the webpage are those that say, "Thank 
you so very much for bringing back the memories.  You have brightened our days."
It is so very delightful to know that somewhere out there, someone has been
touched by what you have done.  Your success in school would be nothing 
without your teachers who guide you in the direction of knowledge, and who
give you the necessary feedback when you are going in the wrong direction.
        To be a success, you also need the support of your family and friends.
It is very important to have people to talk to, who will listen to your 
problems and try to help you to find the answers that are right for you.  It
is also your family and friends who will cheer you on in times of victory,
and support you in times of failure.  Don't let people believe that you 
must be victorious every time to be successful.  Failure is always part of 
your learning process, and will help you to become a better person in the
end.
        Finally, it is important to remember the impact that God has on
each of our lives.  I know that whatever talents I have come from God, and
they should be used as he would want them to be used, helping other people, and
making myself a better person.  Everytime you get back another hundred on
that hard test, or you shoot that winning goal, or you sing a song at a 
recital or a musical, or you finish off that paper you never thought you
could ever get done, just remember that none of that could have ever been 
done without God on your side to help you... and if you believe in his power
you will know that he is not only your greatest help, but also your biggest
fan.  But, your success will all depend on your desire to use the gifts he 
has given to you to the best of your ability.
        I will close tonight by describing Disney's original idea for the
Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow or EPCOT.  Disney's dream was
a utopia where everyone would help one another out, and togther people would
build a better future for each other.  That idea became the recently closed
ride at Epcot Center known as Horizons, the motto of which was, "If You Can
Dream it You Can Do It."  I'd just like to share some of the lyrics from
the theme song from the attraction.  It went, "Have you ever dreamed the dreams
of the children.  Picturing the magic their minds can see.  Horizons, are 
shining anew.....and it will be, a future filled with care for you and me, a 
world we long to share.  For today holds the challenge to make this world
a brighter place to be, new horizons for you and for me."  By your presence
here tonight, you have all proven that you have and can do great things
with your minds.  You posess gifts that many can only dream about, and should
be congratulated on all of your many accomplishments.  But, now you face 
the challenge of doing something with the gifts God has given you, and 
as long as you believe in yourself, follow your dreams, and use your knowledge
to better yourself and other people, you will be successful, and you will 
meet all of your new horizons.