Graduation Speech 2015: Melvin Jerome “MJ” Butler II


I don’t think I will ever forget the day that Crossroads College Preparatory School became the school that I would attend for the rest of my grade school career. I had to be 11 years old. My voice hadn’t dropped, I still thought girls had coodies, and all that really mattered to me was having fun with my friends. My mother was driving me home from school and she began asking me when I wanted to go visit Priory, MICDS, and some other private schools. There was never any mention of Crossroads. I don’t think my mother or I even knew that this school existed. But nevertheless, when it was time for me to respond to her question of visitation scheduling, I responded and said “I think I want to go to a school where the kids are more like me.”

“What do you mean?” my mom said.

“Well, I like the kids at my school but I want a more diverse group of people at my next school.”

Now, when you aren’t paying the bills, expressing what you want can be very easy. But thankfully, my parents listened to my request and stumbled upon Crossroads College Preparatory School. I visited, I loved it, and years later, I am standing on this stage in front of all of you.

It has been 4 long years. For some of us, it has even been 6. These years have been full of ups and downs, happiness and sadness, and many times where I thought to myself “I don’t know if I can deal with these people”. But I must admit that even in those times, where I found myself angry or annoyed, I wouldn’t trade any of these people behind me for the world if I had the chance.

We started divided. We were all in our own respective cliques and we rarely ventured out of them. But it was our experiences and our time in this place that brought us together and allowed me to see why I came to Crossroads. After my time hear, I have to admit that you all changed what I want out of my life. You changed who I am and how I think and how I operate.

Andrew Adler you taught me to be efficient and never do unnecessary work. Maya, you taught me how to think about issues from not only my perspective but from multiple perspectives. Matthew Austin, you showed me that creating music is truly a process and that even though it may not seem like it, it takes hard work for artists to make the music that I listen to everyday. Brooke you taught how to not take things too seriously and to laugh more. Sara, you are one of the most laid back people that I know. Jasmyne, I’ve known you since the third grade and you have always shown me nothing but love. Eli, you showed me some of the craziest underground musicians that I know. Sam Buccholz you helped me learn to appreciate the art of Shakespeare. Solomon you continue to show me that everything really is easy come, easy go. D.J., you never fail to make me laugh and I can’t wait for the world to see what you and I do 10 years from now. Max, you made acting cool and I’m sure that one day I will see you on the big screen. Emily your work ethic is inspiring and I hope that I can copy some of it in college. Adam, you and Matthew Larson are probably some of the smartest people that I have ever met. Caleb you are probably the calmest guy I have ever met. Megan, you always seem so happy and you might be one of the nicest person that I have met. Zoe, thank you for always being genuine. AK, after years with you man, I must say thank you for always being a genuinely nice guy. Jocelyn, you simply taught me a lot. Sammy, thank you for all of the after school conversations about future plans and video games. Eleanor, I don’t think I’ve ever told you how beautiful your voice is but you are a great singer and I hope that you don’t stop singing. Louis, I will miss your insightful comments man. You’re a great guy and I am glad that I got to know you. Jack Phan thank you for inspiring me on the baseball field. Hera, thank you for educating me about issues that I really did not initially know a lot about. Charlotte, you are an amazing artist. Sam Shabsin, thank you for teaching me to joke more and be little more lighthearted. Ben, thank you for believing in me and not viewing my ideas about my life goals as impossible. Eliana thank you for always being you.

For those who don’t know, I’m a music connoisseur and one of my favorite artists also wrote poetry. His name was Tupac Shakur and he said “you wouldn’t ask why the rose that grew from concrete had damaged petals. On the contrary, you would celebrate its tenacity. You would love its drive to reach the sun”. Well, I am the rose, this is the concrete, and these are the people that pushed me to grow into the man young man that I am today. I have nothing but love for each and every person sitting behind me and on behalf of them all, I would like to thank all of you for guiding us, loving us, and always believing in us. Thank you.