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Graduation Speech: Akshara Prahalathan

Welcome everyone to the class of 2023’s graduation ceremony. Starting off, I would like to thank the staff, friends, and family members who gave their utmost support and motivation throughout this journey. I know we are all aware these past couple years have been a ride of ups and downs, but through it all, our teachers and administration have worked so hard. I know we can all agree our teachers deserve so much more recognition for their hard work and patience.

High school is such a special experience because regardless of whether you're smart or athletic, everyone is given the opportunity to be themselves and express their individuality. In spite of the diversity that fills this room, we all share the collaborative spirit needed to thrive. I can say that confidently because regardless of the circumstances, we still managed to be there for each other. I faced my own challenges of not feeling enough or being unsure of what’s to come, but luckily for me, I realized I wasn’t alone in this; a lot of my peers felt the same way, and honestly, that fact gave me a great sense of comfort. Many of us faced that uncertainty during the time of quarantine and online school, but coming back to our normal lives, I realized that uncertainty has brought us closer.

We can all look back and recall the feelings of excitement and resentment on the first day back after COVID, walking into the familiar halls but also getting used to changes like wearing a mask at all times. Frankly, those memories seem distant now, and I can confidently say my class managed to bounce back better than ever and made up for all the time we missed in person. Now looking back, it was the small moments, like football games where we came together to cheer on our school and even class discussions about the books we read, that really left an impact and helped bring us together.

When thinking about the message I wanted to share, it was extremely important that I remind you that it's ok if you're unsure of what's to come or not happy with where you are right now. Take it slow and appreciate the journey. Hard times and uncertainty are what bring us closer, and sometimes just showing up is the biggest step. I believe that every student here has great potential to reach that dream version of themselves just by believing in their potential and helping others find theirs. Regardless of the different paths each one of us will take after graduation, the time we've had together was a huge part of the journey.

As we go into this next chapter, I want all my peers to remember, "Life moves pretty fast; if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."


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