THE MALDEN ADVOCATE–Friday, June 10, 2022 Page 13 PRESIDENT | FROM PAGE 1 gled 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 SALUTATORIAN | FROM PAGE 1 of 2022 would have liked to see someone they actually know on the stage, but sorry, you’re stuck with me. Going into writing this speech, I was tempted to steal the jokes in the speeches I saw online, but then I realized that I wouldn’t be able to pull them off anyway. I’ll save everyone the trouble of hearing the whole COVID spiel because I think everyone is tired of hearing about it. If it must be mentioned, I’ll let someone else do it, so I’ll skip that. Well, what I really want to focus on today is the journey that we’ve all been taken on through our high school career. I’m sure we all started high school as clueless freshmen without a clear path in life and with a scrambled web of social relationships. So I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the people who were central to this journey. To my teachers: You have inspired me to do so much. There are those who fostered my love for history, those who made every biology class fun, those whose passion for math almost infected me, and those who helped me work through my fear of public speaking. Though, I think that last one still needs 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 bathsome work because my knees are knocking into each other right now. Once upon a time, I talked to one of my middle school teachers, and she complained about how when everyone gets up on the stage they start talking about all their high school teachers, but what about the middle school teachers? You know who you are. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten. I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to all of my teachers – elementary, middle, and high school – for shaping me into the person I am today. You guys did a great job, but unfortunately even you can’t fix my scoliosis, my myopia, my terrible athletic ability, and how I forget how to do basic math. I don’t think anyone can. Now, we as teenagers like to talk about independence and how we’ll be able to tackle the world without the nagging of others, but I want to highlight the importance of the people we’ve met around us. Without the friends that I met in high school, I would still be the teenager who wouldn’t dare talk to a teacher even if I split my head open. I would still be the teenager who thought that talking about my feelings and anxieties was a form of weakness. rooms, 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 They are the people who have been by my side when I had no one else to turn to. They are the people who were willing to listen to me vent when I had sunk to my lowest point. For that, I am eternally grateful for their patience and their influence on me to turn into a more social person – a person who is willing to dance like a chicken with their head cut off at prom. I’m still not perfect at communication, as you can probably tell, and I’m still in the process of trying to break completely out of my shell, but that’s all part of the process, a process I couldn’t have done without the people around me. I’m sure that many of you can say the same about a precious friend or group of friends. I’ve talked about how both teachers and friends have helped us get through these past years and how they’ve helped mold us into the people we are now, but there is one other person who often goes unrecognized: yourself. I’ve met so many kind people during the past few years, but I’ve noticed one problem and I’m guilty of this as well: the problem of self-worth. Despite how amazing these people are in my eyes, they don’t see themselves the same way. 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 We as a class have overcome so much, whether it was the pandemic, family issues, financial struggles, or internal strife. We have shown determination and unity in the face of adversity. I’ve talked about myself in this speech, but this day is about each and every one of you – about all of your current achievements and the achievements you will reach in the future. Many of the people I know give themselves a hard time because they think that they could have done better. Our worst critics are often ourselves, and we can’t see all the good qualities that other people notice in us. Being sappy isn’t my style at all, but I think I can let it go just this once because it’s graduation. Reconcile with your past self, forgive your past mistakes and look fondly on how cringey you think you used to be. Appreciate your current self, always strive to be better in the future, but do not discount who you are now and what you have achieved. You are not a singular embarrassing or disappointing action, you are the result of all of your actions, forged from trials of fires and determination of steel. Whether we’re the best of 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. friends, classroom acquaintances, or perfect strangers, the fact that you are right here, right now, is proof to me that you are enough. Even though we might not know each other, your hard work is evident to me because you are here, you are graduating. Even though these words are cliche and I feel awkward saying them to all of you, I think that everyone doesn’t hear these words enough. Sometimes they’re the words that you need to hear. A lot of the time they’ve been words that I needed to hear but didn’t. You are worth it. You are worth all the love you receive. You deserve all the fortune that comes your way. Remember all of the people who helped you get to where you are now: your family that has acted as your backbone (shoutout to my mom, dad, and brother, cough), your teachers that have supported you, and the friends that you have made countless memories with. But also remember to acknowledge your own role in your success. Today as you step up to receive your diploma, bask in that moment because it is fully yours. Whatever you do after today, I know you’ll walk on a path of success. Thank you.

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