My Updated and Revised Commencement Speech to the Graduating Class of 1989


In 1989 I was invited to deliver a speech to the graduating class of Steller High School in Anchorage, Alaska. In this speech, I offered up a number of grand predictions as to what life would be like over the next two decades.

As it turns out I was completely wrong.

So I am proposing a do-over, in which I will go back in time to tell the 1989 graduates what life is really going to be like in 2009. My remarks will touch on politics, sports, entertainment, world events and other meaty topics. In just five minutes, I will brief yesterday’s bright-eyed high school seniors on what their next 20 years will bring.

This talk will be funny, of course, because 2009 turned out to be wildly and amusingly different than we would have imagined 20 years ago. But amidst the laughs there will be a message that the future is impossible to predict, and we can use this talk as reminder that we have the power today to make tomorrow’s world whatever we want it to be. I hope the audience can use this presentation as a springboard to imagine the possibilities for the next 20 years.

So pop a little Debbie Gibson into your boom box and let me take the class of 1989 on a whirlwind tour of life in 2009.

Finally, for a little show and tell, here’s me punking the hosts of AM Northwest:

I’m not that nerdy in real life.

Andrew Berkowitz

Affiliation ComedySportz Portland,

Andrew is the “Head Coach” of Portland’s ComedySportz improv theater, and a frequent performer with other improv and sketch groups. He is also Development Director for Sparkplug, a web application development firm that designs usable interfaces based on human behavior (

Before turning to a life of improv and computers, Andrew was a writer and editor with newspapers such as the Anchorage Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle and Palo Alto Weekly. Also a playwright, his plays have been produced in Alaska, California and Oregon.