By Jing Ren
Class of 2022 Valedictorian
Hey, the speech I will be giving was actually written on the day before the draft was due. But, this time I actually didn’t procrastinate like what I have been doing this entire year because of senioritis. I was notified this Tuesday that I will be standing up here and delivering a speech. You might be expecting an eloquent and sophisticated speech from me, but I am not wise, at least not yet as learning doesn’t end upon obtaining a diploma. Anywho, here we go.
Good afternoon, Principal Mastrangelo, Superintendent Dr. Murphy, Mayor Christenson, school faculty and staff, honored guests, friends and family, and most importantly, my beloved Class of 2022. I am humbled and honored to stand before you on such a memorable occasion and speak on behalf of my extraordinary classmates.
As I look into the crowd, I see the beauty of diversity. I see faces of different cultures, nationalities, sexual orientations, religious beliefs, and life experiences. We have aspiring politicians, writers, artists, teachers, engineers, fashion designers, and programmers, who are eager to make their mark on the world. We are all so uniquely different from one another. But we are all here today to celebrate our success and get the same diploma.
I can say that we have officially managed to Quizlet, SparkNotes, and Khan Academy our way through these past four years of high school. We are officially out. To the studies that we just slept, through the first periods that we showed up late, through the morning announcements we fazed out, and through the countless lectures we almost dozed off in, we can say that we will not be doing this again. We are off into a new world, whether we are going to college, trade school, the workforce, military, or sleep, I just know that this class will be doing great things in the future.
After today we will be entering the real world equipped with all the knowledge gained in high school. Tasks such as calculating the hypotenuse distance between your house and your bestie’s house, balancing the chemical equation when mixing salt and water, and identifying rhetorical strategies in text messages, you know, things adults do all the time on a daily basis, will become a piece of cake for us.
Not to mention more upsides after graduation. No more walking around the entire school just to pee. No more trash cans being lit on fire. No more waiting for the underclassmen to stop blocking the middle of the hallway. And, hopefully, no more 5-minute lunches because the lines for sandwiches are always packed.
As I stand here today, I want to give some words of advice, words that we can all carry with us in our future endeavors. Being named the valedictorian means more than just having the highest GPA or earning the title. As a first-generation, low-income student from an immigrant family, being named the valedictorian means that I can rise above any situation through hard work and determination. Most of us are not born with a silver spoon in our mouths. Whether we are from a minority background or low-income household, we, in our caps and gowns, have proven to the world that we can also be so accomplished. Our identity is not a barrier to success but a launching pad that will only make us continuously push ourselves to improve, give back to our community, and make our parents proud.
While I cannot stand up here and tell you how to succeed, I can stand up here and tell you that you should not let obstacles stop you from doing the very things you want to do. Me standing up here is evidence that anybody can do anything. Every single one of us had unique trials and tribulations that we had to overcome in order to be here today. We had the resilience, determination, and courage to advance in the face of adversity. With this in mind, I challenge all of you to continuously embrace those tremendous qualities as you start a new chapter in your life.
As we soon depart from this stadium, I ask you all to look around and acknowledge the special people that have inspired you to do so much and helped you become who you are today. Appreciate those teachers who let you live in their rooms literally 24/7. Appreciate your friends for spilling tea with you and giving you absurd relationship advice. Appreciate your parents for their unconditional love and support since day one.
Most importantly, appreciate Mayor Christenson and the City for working tirelessly to support our community. Because of their hard work, every graduating student from Malden High this year, who is attending college, will be receiving a $1000 scholarship.
Before I forget, everyone look up. 1, 2, 3, smile! Gotta do it for the gram. Appreciate it y’all! Today is about us wearing blue and gold proudly for one last time, walking across this stage, feeling nothing but satisfaction, and celebrating all of our hard work with our loved ones. I am proud of you all. Your teachers are proud of you. And your friends and family are proud of you. Congratulations Class of 22 and go Golden Tornados! Thank you!