Stardust and discovery: Kristin Hon’s graduation speech

Stardust and discovery: Kristin Hon’s graduation speech
Kristin Hon delivered a speech on space, stardust, and the future. (Photo courtesy of Great Neck Public Schools)

Below is Kristin Hon’s graduation speech from the commencement ceremony for Great Neck South High School, as submitted by the Great Neck Public Schools. 

I once heard that we are all made up of stardust. A truly poetic sentiment, especially when you realize that it’s true. How many of you have heard of nucleosynthesis? (None? Some? Same.) Basically, after the Big Bang, tiny particles were released and fused into heavier elements. Those elements—made of stardust—evolved into organisms, one of which being us. This mind-boggling history has made people so excited to learn about Earth. Problem is…almost everything on Earth has already been discovered. That leaves little room for us to discover. However, what has barely been explored by generations past? Space.

You see, we don’t know what we haven’t learned. We can assume, and we can postulate. We can presume, and we can calculate. But the truth is, at the end of the day and at the start of tomorrow, nothing is guaranteed. Space is where we are going, that much is true. And getting there? Well, how else are we going to understand air resistance without science and math, how else can we incorporate the Apollo missions without history, how else can we communicate our experiences without language? Our education will be our rocket fuel, propelling us toward an uncertain path. We will be the trailblazers of a new landscape. Piloting into tomorrow.

So when you look back in time, don’t. Look to the stars because whatever is behind you has already been discovered. Look forward, look up, look around, and when you still find yourself looking back, look ahead farther because before you is space that has never been seen before. Because space is the final frontier. These will be the voyages of the class of 2019. Our continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before…

And if you can’t or don’t want to do that, look within yourself. Because, believe it or not, you are stardust. You are the stars, you are the moons, you are the planets, and you are the galaxies that embrace them. No matter how small you may seem, you have a future larger than you can dream. And because of that, you must find yourself first before you can examine the universe.

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