Good afternoon to everyone who has helped facilitate the education of the graduates sitting before me, and a special thank you to Mayor Womack, the Board of Education, the NBTHS administration, faculty and staff, friends, and family for being here with us today.
By a show of hands, how many of the graduates know for a fact that as soon as this ceremony is over, our parents are going to take a ton of pictures of us? … Okay, hands down. Friends and family-- how many of you cannot wait to take pictures to post on Facebook or send on WhatsApp? ...Okay, hands down.
To the outside world, these pictures will capture the excitement of reaching the culmination of our young lives. To our families, these pictures will capture the relief of us finally earning the diplomas we have worked for so hard over the last 13 years. To us, these pictures are simply the tip of the iceberg and barely scratch the surface at capturing the hundreds of experiences that have united us.
Of course, these pictures will show how happy we are to have made it so far, but hidden behind our beautiful smiles are the countless hours we have spent trying to form our identities as individuals in today’s society. We have learned -- and relearned after quarantine -- how to make meaningful connections with one another, and we have grown so much since we first stepped foot in NBTHS. Many of us have formed many friendships that we will keep close to our hearts for years to come and every single one of us has met someone here that we will never forget.
These photos will show our graduation outfits, but what they can’t show are the four years worth of spirit days and school events we have participated in. Although mold, gas leaks, and COVID kept us from physically being in the building at times, they didn't stop our class from showing up to homecomings, concerts, and Friday night football games (Go Raiders!). Whether you were an athlete, a member of a club, or you just showed up to school every day, you were a part of a community that was bigger than yourself. No matter how your high school career was compared to the person sitting next to you, you made a difference in someone’s life here just by showing up.
There will be videos of us throwing our caps, but the length of those videos can't compare to the amount of time we have spent completing or stressing out over assignments. Some of us didn’t think we would make it, but clearly we did something right if we are all sitting here today. While we may never use some of the things we were taught during our time in high school ever again, it’s the skills we have learned that will help us to be successful in our future endeavors.
There are a lot of things in this world that do not and never will belong to us, but all those experiences, all those emotions and trials and errors, all those memories, belong to the Class of 2022. They are mine and they are yours, and no one can take them away from us. Thank you and congratulations, graduates!