By Julie Huynh
Class of 2022 President
Good afternoon, everyone.
I tried to get them to play “Long Live” by Taylor Swift in the background of my speech, but unfortunately that didn’t work out. So, if you know the song just pretend it’s playing in your head right now.
I struggled a lot with writing this speech because I struggled a lot with processing the fact that our childhood is now over. But I always knew this day would come.
The first time we were all together like this was the first day of freshman year. Do you remember how hot it was that day in the auditorium? The air was buzzing with excitement, anticipation, and nervousness. Even so, I think we knew that that was the start of something special. We wanted to believe that what they say about high school going by fast was true, but it was also hard to believe that when you’re sitting in Ms. Chan’s math class watching the minutes go by.
No one could have predicted just how much would change in the next few years, not only in ourselves, but in the entire world.
Now, four years later, this is the last time we will all be together in the same place. So remember this moment: when the crowd cheers after your name is called, when your biggest worry is not tripping on stage. Because, unfortunately, we live in a country where not everyone makes it as far as we did. It is hard for me to comprehend that just a few weeks ago, 21 lives were lost to gun violence, and now those children will never make it to their own graduation.
Our class may be the only one to have completed a full year of high school at MHS, but we are also one of the only ones that are living through this unprecedented time in history full of loss, violence, and instability, all while trying to continue on with our lives as if everything is normal. We watched as the number of people who died from COVID rose; we watched arguably one of the most important presidential elections of our lifetime; we saw firsthand how isolation can affect a teenager; we saw countless protests for injustice; and we continue to see all that is wrong with the world at just the tip of our fingers.
And in the midst of all that fear and loss, we could have easily forgotten how messed up the world was. But we didn’t. I am proud to be a part of a generation that continues to advocate for what they believe is right – one that is not afraid to speak truth to power. I can only hope that as we move forward with our lives we can keep on carrying this sense of empathy we have as youths.
I said remember this moment, but let us all remember the moments that we shared together over the past four years as well: the petition on Change.org to get the doors back on our bathrooms, losing every spirit week except our last one, going out for lunch during midterms, watching Rebecca Black’s Friday every Friday in Londino’s class.
Because after today we’re all going our separate ways, whether that be college, trade school, the workforce or taking a gap year, and whether you’re staying in state or moving across the country…
Up until this point in our lives, we have been held together by invisible strings. Many of us attended the same preschool, elementary school, middle school, and then all of us came together in high school. For some of us, our lives have been intertwined since preschool. After all this time, it’s hard to untangle all that history and leave it behind. So, move on, but never forget your roots.
Time has given us no compasses, no signs, no clues as to where we will end up. However, I do know that no matter where you will be going after high school, we’ll always have Friday nights out at Assembly, ordering Shirley Temples at restaurants, pretending to listen to a lecture on Zoom, coming home sore after a long sports game, whether you were on the field or cheering on from the sidelines just to lose by 50 points, stealing moments with your hallway crush, and late nights at Revere Beach, not because it’s the nicest but the closest one.
All we’ve talked about since freshman year has been leaving – leaving behind the flickering streetlights, cracked sidewalks, and small town secrets. But when we do come back, maybe the colors will have faded and the potholes fixed. People will have changed their hair and grown taller. And we will be different, too.
All I know is no matter how far away we go, this will always be the place we were made. And this place consists of some really great people, because none of us could be here today without the guidance of our mentors and peers.
I want to thank Daniel Howard Jurkowski, our class advisor, who has loyally stuck by us for the past four years when he could have quit at any time. He has taught me a lot about leadership, and his resilience continues to inspire me every day. I would not be standing here today presenting a speech if it weren’t for him encouraging me to run for VP sophomore year. Thank you for believing in me, and for playing Folklore during gym.
To my student council members, I hate you all for stacking 16 cards against me in Crazy 8. That being said, I could not have chosen a better group of people to have spent the past three years with. Each and every one of you are so hardworking and skilled in your own right; your next destination is going to be so lucky to have you. I love you guys.
To our Principal, Mr. Mastrangelo, sorry we all called you Thanos freshman year. We hadn’t yet been able to see your perseverance and commitment to your job. You’re seriously one of the best principals anyone could ask for. Thank you for always listening to us and constantly trying to do better. You’re someone that everyone should be looking up to.
And finally, mom and dad, thank you for your bravery in leaving behind everything you’ve known for children that weren’t even born yet. How determined you were to give my brother and I a life that was worth sacrificing yours for. To my brother, who would be mad if I didn’t include him in this speech, you’re pretty cool, I guess. I don’t appreciate how much taller than me you are, but I do appreciate the bond that we share.
Now, for my final message to the Class of ’22 as your president… long live all the walls we crashed through, all the magic we made, and all the mountains we moved. I had the time of my life with you all. One day, we will be remembered.