I would like to start by saying thank you to all parents, guardians, family members, and friends here in person and virtually.
I know personally, I would not be standing on this stage today if it were not for the support of my parents, grandparents, and my little sister. They have stood by me in everything I do, saying “yes” to all of my crazy ideas and helping me grow into the person I am today. So thank you for being the best family a person could ask for; I couldn’t have done it without you.
Those of us on stage represent the Class of 2021, but each graduate is just as deserving of recognition. After all, today is about all of us, no matter class rank or office.
I want to recognize future scientists like Rachel Jones, Claire O’Brien and Kate Ervin, who I have had the privilege of knowing for the past four years. About our anticipated artists and creators such as Katie Stecklair, Marie Zappia and KT Pagano, who will make this world a more beautiful place to live and this school’s expected health care workers such as Cecilia Llamas, Lillian Berger and Kim Yoc Solis, who will keep us all healthy and happy in this uncertain future. As well as this world’s future engineers such as Brandon Myers, Jordan Cox Pemberton, Sarah Hofstetter and Andrew Smith, who I have shared Mr. King’s rulers since freshman year, and our future entrepreneurs and bosses such as Nicole Newsome, Rachael Worth and Molly Grafton.
And finally, I would like to introduce several of this country’s future soldiers such as Will Ashmore, Ty Wilson, Megan Speakman, Deja Dawson, Damien Lee, Shane Lyons, Gabriel Yiannakis, Alexander Sipes, Jonathan Conner, Jevante Dozier, Nathan Walls and Katie Wade, to name a few. Let’s give a round of applause for them and any current military officials or veterans in the crowd.
And I know I was not able to fit everyone into today’s speech, and I apologize if I missed you.
If you would like to send a complaint, please send it to my school email, which I will never look at again after today.
But from the few I did include, we can all see the vast amount of diversity we have within our graduating class.
My future plans are to gain a degree in architecture with a minor in sustainability at the University of Maryland. Go Terps! After earning my degree, I will pursue a career working in developing countries, designing and building homes in impoverished communities. I will design infrastructure that will work with the local ecosystem, helping both the people that live there and the planet.
While the future is uncertain, the past has taught us great lessons in and outside of the classroom and shaped each of us into the people we are today.
Let this present moment be a gift of our accomplishments.
Today the world is plagued with many issues, from police brutality, racism, sexism, and homophobia to global warming and pollution. These are difficult, complex issues and will take more than a day, a year, or even several decades to solve.
I often think about these problems and find myself overwhelmed with their enormity, not knowing how I would ever be able to fix them, but together, we are this world’s future.
While each of our paths in life may divide and take us in different directions, I know our futures are bright. I know our generation will not stand until every voice is heard, until every person is treated equally and is fairly represented, and until future generations can have the assurance of a safe world to grow into.
We will raise our hands in protest of those that oppress minorities and fight until people are judged based on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, their gender, or their sexual orientation.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”
This is our first step. We have all just achieved a great new milestone in our lives, and let this diploma symbolize the hours of hard work and dedication each of us not only gave to this school and community but to the betterment of ourselves and knowledge gained over the course of the last four years.
While our time together is coming to a close, rather than focusing on what we are losing, think about all of the great moments each of us are destined to gain in the future and the world we are going to create.
I am honored to stand in front of everyone here today and represent our Class of 2021.
To my fellow graduates, thank you for making the last four years some of the best of my life, and I wish you luck in your future ahead.