Emerson High School Valedictorian Speech, June 19, 2008.
Good evening graduates, parents, and honored guests. Since the beginning of my education I have been guided by one of the most influential forces—my parents and family. Throughout my former years of education, my family never pushed me to study any specific subject or pressured me to take extracurricular courses. I was encouraged to simply “do well in school because good things will come of that.” In fact, these “good things” did not only come in education, but with the relationships I have made with my peers and teachers.
Let me first thank my teachers for entertaining my endless inquiries and dealing with my stubbornness at times, but—more importantly—for sharing a part of their knowledge and experiences. From long lectures, to college discussions, or a simple debate on politics, I thank you all.
Now it is with great honor that I thank the final graduating class of Emerson High School—the class of 2008. I am proud to be among some of the finest students Union City has to offer. They have helped me grow scholastically, as well as socially these past years. We should also be grateful that we have had such an excellent number of student-leaders like
Adriana Chalas of National Honor Society,
Elyn Urbina of Student Council,
Sherylene Diaz of Emerson’s Newspaper,
and Cynthia Navarrete, our class President.
All of whom have selflessly dedicated their free time in organizing many of our activities and school events.
For the past four years, no one in this graduating class could have predicted that the years would have come and gone so quickly. Tonight, as this chapter of our lives concludes, another one begins. This next phase of our lives comes with an immense amount of freedom. I’m not talking about the same freedom we experienced when we first walked through the doors of Emerson, but the freedom to decide what to do with our own lives. Whether we enter the workforce or enroll in college, we must all take charge of our own lives.
In college, our parents will not be there to heal our wounds or cater to our needs. No one will be looking over our shoulders to complete homework or study for exams. We must be able to stay focused on our education as we are exposed to the many aspects of college life.
Although, this may seem to be a scary path, we must prove to our parents, teachers, and community that as young adults we will make the right decisions because they have provided us with the tools to do so.
This upcoming chapter also requires us to be prudent and responsible. As John Dewey, an educational philosopher once said: “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” If education is life, then we must grasp every moment of our lives as a learning experience. College will definitely be a new experience for many of us. We will meet a diverse group of people that come from all around the world; who will introduce us to different points of view and allow us to gain a better perspective of their cultures.
We must continue to embrace our future education because it is the one force that will influence every move and thought of our adult lives. Such education will further help integrate us into society, becoming doctors, lawyers, scientist, educators, what have you, and will also allow us to represent this community in whatever career we choose to pursue.
Some of us may go on to become great leaders and professionals that will travel the world while others may choose to come back here to serve and help continue improving this city. Whichever the case, we are the future for this country and we have many challenges to address both globally and nationally.
On a global scale, according to The Economist, the price of food is inflating at an enormous rate where families are having difficulties buying the necessary food to stay healthy. Meanwhile, our dependence on oil has become a burden for us as the price of gasoline is going beyond $4 a gallon. People all around the nation are losing their homes because they cannot pay their mortgages. As tomorrow’s leaders and thinkers of the world we can conquer theses challenges in future years. We can do this if we keep an open mind and remain focused on improving ourselves.
I recognize that for many of us it has been difficult to keep up with our studies, but our perseverance has enabled us to overcome many obstacles that led to this night AND it will be our resilience that will keep us from ever failing in our future. Believe me, never, let anyone or anything stop you from accomplishing your goals. Not a college rejection, poor test grade, or any of life’s tribulations. If you should ever find yourself in these situations, don’t ever give up and remain hopeful. Don’t lead yourself to believe that you are at the end of the road when things get tough. Stay confident and remember, there will always be an opportunity if you seek it.
On the behalf of Emerson’s Class of 2008, I congratulate you all on your accomplishments and I hope you have the best of luck with your future endeavors—may it be right after graduation or in another four short years. And in time….
We WILL BE…
the economists that make sure we never go through a recession..
the scientist that will find alternative energy sources and…
the educators that will train the next group of leaders.
Whichever path we choose, WE WILL forever share a common bond!
Of being the final graduating class of Emerson High School. Thank you.
Union City, June 19, 2008.