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Rapping Out A Future Vision
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A 2017 High School Graduate Envisions a Hopeful, Bright Future


Madeleine Meldrum, who graduated from Hempfield High School in June, wowed a full gymnasium of her fellow seniors, their families, faculty and friends with her poetic "Wrapping Our Hempfield Journey."  (The school recorded the entire graduation ceremony on YouTube.)  We are sharing it to bring a glimmer of optimism for all those wondering about the future generation of leaders.  


 Wrapping Our Hempfield Journey

In terms of formal etiquette, this may seem a slight breach,

You all expect that I have some great wisdom that I’ll teach,

But anyone can stand up on a podium and preach,

And I’m a Hempfield grad, and so I’m rapping this speech!

And though I seem uptight,

I think it’s only right

That we make this commencement one memorable night!


And I know that all of you out there have heard this stuff before:

Yeah, all those themes of chasing dreams

And always wanting more,

But I’m sure that the core of what these things are for

Is to show you that you can get up off the floor.

And each corny speech

Is intended to teach

That as far as you reach

Is as far as you’ll soar.


But don’t get me wrong,

Troubles will come along,

And the louder you sing,

The more painful your song.

But through trials

And miles

Of crawling through muck

When you’ve run out of luck

And it seems like you’re stuck

Don’t give up!

‘Cause it’s worth it.

This earth is

Not perfect,

But neither are we,

So, you see,


Life’s a mess,

And there’s stress,

And yet nevertheless,

We’re the Hempfield Black Knights,

Not damsels in distress,

So we press

Through the pain

And we dance in the rain,

And we change and we grow,

We learn how to let go,

And it’s these times that show

We are more than we know.


So don’t ever think

When you’re right on the brink,

That it’s better to quit than it is to sink.

‘Cause in all situations, when it’s looking grim,

It’s only overboard that you learn to swim,

And whether it’s dim or bright,

Whether daytime or night,

You can keep persevering, don’t give up the fight!

Because through every plight

You will find that in flight

It is only the harsh winds that pick up the kite.


And we’re in this together

Through storms or fair weather.

The journey’s

The learning,

The learning’s the growing

So don’t live your story without even knowing!

‘Cause though life discombobulates

With closing gates

And weird roommates,

And having too much on your plate,

Whatever your state,

Great things await

As you learn to circumnavigate.


And this life’s a battle, and like any war,

You have to have something that’s worth fighting for.

I’d argue the true

Reason for all we do

Is not money or fame,

Even happiness, too,

If you focus on you.



For to me,

The true key

To felicity

Is to serve and observe

To make others happy.

‘Cause by caring

And sharing

The burdens they’re bearing,

We bind

All mankind,

And as we’re intertwined,

Then we’re shown

That we’ve grown

More than we could alone.


‘Cause the more we give,

The more we live,

And glory in the collective.

Imagine what this world would be

If we changed our priorities

And seized

The opportunities,

If charities

Beat enmities

And we could live in unity.

It sounds naive,

But I believe

It’s something that we can achieve.

So rise above

And learn to love,

‘Cause that’s what true joy is made of.


Love everyone, no matter who,

No matter what they say or do,

Just fix your frame,

‘Cause I proclaim

That where it counts, we’re all the same:

Minorities, Majorities,

Constituents, authorities,

Red elephants or blue donkeys,

The core of these

Divisions are decisions:

We decide to be divided,

But we don’t have to,

Let’s change our view,

‘Cause me and you,

There’s so much more that we can do


I’ve decided

That I’m done being nearsighted.


And someday they’ll see,

From sea to sea,

That it’s not about me

But it’s all about us,

And thus,

All the fuss

About who’s right

And “let’s fight”

And “my way or bust”

Is just superfluous

And we should all discuss

How to see one another

With love, not bias.


‘Cause just look around you and see all these faces,

We’re all walking through this life at our own paces.

So whatever your politics, religion, or race is,

You’re gonna go out there and man, you’re gonna go places!

So wherever you are, you gotta work with your placement,

Whether it’s in New York, Asia, or your own parent’s basement.

‘Cause wherever and whenever and whoever you are,

Just know you can go far,

And shoot for every star,

And love the life that you have got, no matter how bizarre.


‘Cause whether or not

It’s what you thought,

This life you have is all you got,

And potential?  Man, you’ve got a lot,

So please, I beg you, my dear friends,

Do not throw away your shot.