NHHSA Graduation Ceremonies
Class of 2012
Angel Monique Padilla
Valedictorian, Class of 2012
Good evening and thank you for being here tonight.
In this time of change, we go on to meet new challenges that may be intimidating because they are full of responsibility. I would like to remind you, class of 2012, that you have the intellect, the capability, the passion, and the strength to overcome all of life’s demands.
A year ago today, June 1st, 2011, my family and I witnessed my grandpa lose a three month battle with cancer. We couldn’t possibly conceive life without him. Though life changed, little by little, we learned to face the day-to-day, still missing him every step of the way. What I learned from this difficult experience is an important lesson: everything comes to pass.
As we head into our journey in the real world and face having to deal with new settings, whether it may be at a new college or university, or entering the workforce, it may be frightening to think of what lies before us. We are crossing into the unknown. However, these are natural fears that will come to pass and that will lead us to our goals, dreams, and our success.
For many of us, meeting new people will be yet another challenge. Throughout our school years here at NHHSA, we have become a family. Although it may be hard to break ties, to start new friendships, to learn to trust others, and to be vulnerable with others, this too shall pass. As we begin to write a new chapter, these newcomers in our lives may come to play the part of teachers, colleagues, and maybe even best friends.
Although it is easy to perceive this life as only one life in which you succeed or you fail, the truth is that this life will be a series of endings and beginnings of many lives within one. We have ended a life as children, we have ended a life as young adults in high school, and we now begin another life as adults who will continue to have the opportunity to make the choices that lead to accomplishment. What we must remember is that every ending will also pass, bringing a new beginning. The choice is ours.
In a recent speech, the great technology guru and entrepreneur, Bill Gates, discussed eleven things students do not learn in high school. I would like to share these with you as they are not only appropriate, but insightful as well.
Rule 1: Life is not fair, get used to it.
Class of 2012, some of us will have to work to get through college; some of us won’t be able to go to the Ivy League school of our dreams, but the possibility of an education is there for each and every one of us.
Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self- esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Classmates, we’ve got to show the world that we are worthy, as students, as employees, and as citizens before the world can feel good about us and we can, in turn, feel good about ourselves.
Rule 3: You will not make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice president with car phone, until you earn both.
Our parents will not be here forever to give us everything we want whenever we want; it will be up to us to work for the things that are both necessities and luxuries.
Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait ‘til you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure.
Our bosses will expect punctuality, high performance, and loyalty. They will demand this without excuses in very much the same way we will demand our paycheck at the end of the week.
Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping – they called it opportunity.
Working at Burger King or Wal-Mart to pay for gas or tuition is not a demeaning experience classmates; it is still the very ladder of opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault. So don’t whine about your mistakes. Learn from them.
Our parents may not be perfect, they may not be success stories or even the example we want to follow, but they gave us life, and with that, the will to make the right choices and to become better people.
Rule 7: Before you were born your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes, and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
What this means, Class of 2012, is that we must learn to take responsibility for the mess we make. Clean up your closets, and learn to clean up your own mistakes.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners or losers, but life has not. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.
In real life, classmates, we must work for what we receive. Our professors will be unforgiving as will our employers. In real life, we get what we deserve.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off, and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.
There is nothing more defining or transformative as education, so may it be your goal to become a lifelong learner, both in your profession and in your definition of self.
Rule 10: Television is not real life. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Leisure moments are gifts, but in order to receive those gifts we are going to spend the majority of our time working for them.
And finally, Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
The nerds will be the ones who heal you, who will do your taxes, and in some cases the ones who will pay your check.
Class of 2012, I stand here humbly before you to honor you. In the past years of attending this school, I have yet to meet a group of more diligent, persistent, and passionate people. In my heart, I know that each and every one of you will go on to great things. I look forward to the playwrights and novelists that will lead me into a literary escape. Like many of us, I love to read, and I thank you in advance for what you’ll write for us.
To those of you who will go on to study medicine, I know that you will encourage compassion, novelty, and perfection that will bring comfort and health to our generation. To you future doctors, I thank you in advance because you are the future that will keep us all in good health. Regardless of the occupation, vocation or profession that you may choose to exercise, I commend you, fellow classmates, and I thank you for doing it with the continued diligence, persistence, and passion that brought you to the presentation of your high school diploma today.
To the administrators and teachers here today: thank you for your patience and guidance, and for sharing your knowledge. It is because of you that we move forward to bringing positive change and creating an equitable world for all.
To the families here: thank you for your support, for your faith, and for your acknowledgement. Without you we would not be here today. Without you, we could not go on tomorrow.
Specifically, I express my gratitude to my mom and dad, to my grandmas, my grandpas, to my uncles, cousins, and my best friends. All your love, your patience, and never-ending support have made me who I am today. For this reason, I intend to continue to make you proud of me.
To the class of 2012, I bid you farewell and I bless your journey with success, health, prosperity, happiness and love.
Goodnight to everyone and thank you.