Ithaca, N.Y. — In a speech at the Ithaca High School’s class of 2014 graduation Thursday night, Mayor Svante Myrick stressed the importance of not letting social media dictate one’s decisions in life.
“Don’t live lives worth ‘liking,’” he said, referencing Facebook, “live lives worth loving.” (Correction: An earlier version of this story quoted Myrick as saying, “live lives worth living.”)
During the speech, at the Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center, Myrick said that a post he had about the balancing of the city’s budget deficit garnered only 12 likes on Facebook. His selfie with Bill Nye the Science guy, however, received over 2,500.
He used those posts to show students that “social media isn’t real life” and that the things that matter in real life are often not accounted for in Facebook likes.
Donned in red robes and yellow tassels, a little more than 300 graduating students listened to Myrick’s speech along with family, friends, teachers and other IHS school staff.
The 139th graduating class in Ithaca High School’s history also listened as Myrick spoke about Amanda Bush, 27, who lost her life in the tractor-trailer crash at Simeon’s last Friday.
“We have no time to waste living a life that looks good to other people; we need every day to live lives that feel good to us,” Myrick said.
Myrick reminisced and joked about his own years in high school, too.
“I learned from my calculus teacher … who was old school — he taught my mother calculus — and he would tell me ‘she was much faster’ three times a week,” Myrick said.
“It’s been 9 years and 1 day since I graduated high school. It’s also been 9 years and 1 day since I used calculus.”
He recalled the day of his high school graduation, saying that he “graduated at 12, and by 3 I was in Ithaca, beginning summer college.”
Reflecting on high school days of their own, Ithaca High School class president Kupono Liu and vice-president Oseoba Airewele gave speeches before Myrick.
Airewele said that he owed his graduation to his family, but rounded out the speech with a quote from Kanye West’s “Stronger.”
“N-now th-that that don’t kill me, can only make me stronger.”
Liu also thanked thanks his family during his speech, recognized the faculty and other class officers, and “most of all — the class of 2014.”
Liu compared “chipping away” at high school to famous sculptor Michelangelo’s slow “chipping away” of a 20 foot slab of marble that eventually became the statue of David.
Superintendent Luvelle Brown spoke after Myrick.
“There’s a lot of joy and emotion in my heart because I’m excited for the future of my community, the future of this nation, and the future of the world … because you’re in it,” Brown said to the graduates.
Eldred V. Harris, member of the board of education, gave the final address.
“Understand that you are human first, and understand that your future will find you,” he said to the sea of red robes, “do not stress about it; you’re prepared for it.”
Some photos from last night’s IHS graduation: