THE MALDEN ADVOCATE–Friday, June 7, 2024 Page 15 Malden High Class President Meklit Abel’s remarks on Graduation Day The following remarks were delivered by Malden High School Class of 2024 President Meklit Abel on Graduation Day, June 2, 2024 I know we’ve been through a bunch of speeches but I promise I’m one of the last ones. Good evening, graduates, families, friends, faculty, and board of education members. Growing up, I always dreamt of becoming the President of the United States. That grand vision filled my childhood imagination until I discovered the harsh reality that assassinations actually do exist and they’re pretty brutal too. It was then that I decided to adjust my aspirations. Instead of leading a nation, I set my sights on becoming a president in a different capacity – whether it was in my high school class or clubs that I created. I was pretty bossy and some of the Linden kids here can probably agree with that, but I promise that’s just one of the reasons why I’m here today. I truly wanted to make a difference in this school and impact people’s lives. And today, I, Meklit Kahassay Abel, or some of you may know me more popularly by Meki, stand before you as the proud president of the Class of 2024 for the past 3 years now, filled with immense dignity and gratitude. Looking back at our journey together, although it’s hard not to be cliché, I can’t wrap my head around how much we’ve grown. From the nervous, wide-eyed sophomore stepping into Malden High for the first time, to the confident seniors prepared to take on the planet, we’ve come a long way. However, our journey was anything but typical. Our freshman year wasn’t really a freshman year, and for many of us, it felt like we were true freshmen during our sophomore year – the first time we were really in the building, experiencing high school in its full, chaotic glory. Those early days were filled with a mix of excitement and uncertainty. We navigated new classes, met new people, and tried to find our place in this big new world. We missed out on many of the traditional freshman experiences, but that made the time we did have together even more precious. ica, always offering love and comfort when I need it most. To my siblings, Orit, Danayet, Kiru, and Danny Shoo, your constant bickering kept me grounded and reminded me of what truly matters – family. To my friends and other family members, Telae, Eden, Venu, Kidus, Viv, Yaw, Betel, Thomas, the list would go on forever so I’m going to stop there. Your support lifted me up and pushed me to be my best self. A special thank you to my Meklit Able Malden High Class of 2024 President We’ve seen each other at our best and our worst. We’ve pulled all-nighters studying for exams, cheered each other on at countless sports events, spent hours and hours organizing club meetings, and supported one another through personal challenges. These experiences have shaped us into the outgoing, compassionate individuals we are today. I owe so much to the people who have supported me and to thank every single one of them on this stage would probably take two weeks, five days, 16 hours, and around 56 minutes. but I mean, who’s counting. I want to start with someone who I wouldn’t be here without physically and mentally. Mama, your unwavering love and sacrifices working overnight for the past 18 years now to support your 4 children will never fail to amaze me and I will always say you are the strongest person I know. Every achievement, every step forward, is all for you. To my aunt Taetae, thank you for always believing in my dreams, no matter how big or small and childish they may be. To my dad, for your lectures that were filled with wisdom, even when I didn’t want to hear them. Ke Wiste new miwedachoo, hulu neger lenante new maregew. And of course Karen and Neil, for being like the grandparents that I longed to have in Amerclass council, long list of names (Colby, Larissa, Akhan, Erikah, Tyler, Shuyi, and of course Keira) You’ve been by my side whenever I needed it. Whether it was planning events together or just being there to listen, you’ve been my partners in crime and forever will be no matter what distance is between us. Mr. Mayor, thank you for believing in me ever since a sixth-grade tech ed project. Your faith in me has been a constant source of motivation. Shout out to the whole science department because I don’t think there is even one classroom in that part of the building where I haven’t laughed, cried and ate food in. And last but certainly not least to our outstanding outperforming advisors, Miss Webber, Miss Kirby, and Miss Votaw, your dedication and love inspired me to aim higher and achieve more than I ever thought possible. Each of you, in your own way, has shaped my journey and challenged me to dream big and strive for excellence. You guys have also set my standards a little too high, but it’s ok. Now that I’ve gotten all of the thank you’s out of the way, let’s get into more of the sentimental stuff. As we stand on the brink of the future, ready to embark on new adventures, I am filled with a mix of excitement and nostalgia. We’ve shared so many moments – some small, others monumental and life-changing. Our time at Malden High has also been filled with extraordinary events. They are the memories we will carry with us, the stories we will tell for years and years and eventually to our own kids. All of those videos on snap and posts on our insta spams will now just be distant memories that we look back on and laugh at. One of the most incredible things that I personally think the class of 2024 embodies heavily is the power of community. Together, we’ve created a supportive environment where everyone feels valued and included. We’ve celebrated each other’s successes and lifted each other up in times of need. This sense of community is something I will always cherish and strive to recreate in all aspects of my life. I remember the first couple of months of senior year, during homeroom, Mr. Frigo and I started up a conversation. I was complaining about how our school had no school spirit and how seniors might lose the pep rally because of this reason (side note: we didn’t – we’ve been undefeated for two years now, I’m telling you, Class of 2024, we’re just really something different). But I just kept going on and on about how much I thought I WASNT going to miss the school as soon as I graduated. I know, right? That’s crazy to say here on this stage, but it’s true. I know many of you in the crowd have said the same thing. Mr. Frigo would constantly tell me that I was going to miss it, even though I kept arguing that I wouldn’t. I’m here right now telling you all that I will. I’m going to miss the crowded hallways, the trash cans on fire on Boyle second. I’m going to miss the awful smell and aroma of broccoli in the hallways. I’m going to miss Mr. Mastrangelo’s “Do well, be well” at the end of each day, even though it was a little cringy, SORRY MASTRANGELO. I’m going to miss this, and it’s hard to admit it, but Mr. Frigo, you were right. This accomplishment is not just ours but also belongs to our immigrant parents that are in the stands today. They came from different countries, bringing with them dreams of a better future and enduring countless sacrifices to provide us with opportunities they never had. My parents, like many others, left behind their homeland and family in Ethiopia, navigating the challenges of a new country to raise their children with hope and determination. Today, as we celebrate our graduation, we also celebrate their strength and endurance in such a cruel world. Their journey has been filled with hardships and triumphs, all for this moment. So, to all the immigrant parents, including my own, thank you for your sacrifices and love. This achievement is as much yours, as it is ours. You deserve to be celebrated for all you have done to make this day possible. One last thing I want to leave with you guys today is do not let anyone step over you. It’s important to remember that we, the Class of 2024, even though I have a tiny bit of bias, are one of the best classes in history here at Malden High. The last of the high school covid kids which is insane to think about. Our journey has been unique and filled with challenges that we’ve overcome together, proving our determination and power. As we move forward, hold on to the confidence that you don’t need anyone else to dictate your path. Embrace your autonomy, trust in your abilities, and always remember that you are capable of achieving greatness no matter what you decide to do after you leave those gates today. I know many of you are probably wondering how it feels to stand up here for so long and talk in front of all these people without dying of shame. And to answer that question, as President and Founder of our Black Student Union here at our school, I want to leave you with a quote by the late Chadwick Boseman, mainly known for his role as Black Panther: “To be young, gifted, and black.” Thank you so much, and congratulations to Malden High’s Class of 2024. 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