Guest view: Students speak

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Morgan Hill Unified School District shared students’ speeches that were broadcast on June 4 and 5 graduation ceremonies. Below are transcripts of some of the speeches delivered to the Live Oak, Sobrato and Central High School Class of 2020. 

Stay resilient

By Dean Tran, Sobrato High School Valedictorian

Good evening Class of 2020.

First and foremost, I would like to express my appreciation for the family and friends, teachers and administrators, and above all, God, for supporting us throughout these last four years. I also want to thank Sobrato for putting together this graduation during these unprecedented times so that we could celebrate our high school accomplishments. 

We have had a senior year like no other. We’ve been through a massive power outage, an intense wildfire, and now, we are in the midst of a global pandemic. Yet, despite everything that is happening right now, we completed high school! Nothing, not even coronavirus, can take that away from us. As a class, we have learned that with each setback, we came out a step forward.

Sure, this year may have been disappointing, but with disappointment came clarity—a clarity that allowed us to truly appreciate everything we already have, and everything we still have to gain. If we learned one thing from our senior year, it is that we are resilient!

I am proud of our class and everything we have accomplished. As we close this chapter of our lives, we will all be headed to different places. No matter what we do, I know that each and every one of us will have success as long as we stay hopeful, stay strong, stay resilient.

Tony Stark once said that part of the journey is the end. But, class of 2020, remember that this is only the beginning.

Celebrate grand transition

By Emma Squires, Live Oak High School Valedictorian

Today is a remarkable day for all of us. While some may be dressed up for the occasion, I’m willing to bet that many are taking advantage of the virtual graduation to lounge about in pajamas after having just rolled out of bed an hour ago. Certainly, I’m also likely to be in some form of casual wear as I listen to this pre recorded speech, cringing all the while and criticizing every little thing that just doesn’t sound quite right, a sentiment I’m sure many of you share if you’ve ever had to watch your own video be presented in class. 

But no matter where we are or what we’re wearing or how many snacks we have piled beside us to get us through this ceremony, one thing is for certain: today is the day to recognize all of our accomplishments, not only as a class, but as individuals who have given our all to make it to this point.

I am proud of all of my fellow seniors for their perseverance in these past months as we struggled through the final stretch of high school while stuck at home as a result of the pandemic, but I am also proud of how far we’ve all come in these last four years as a whole. Although graduation finally felt within reach once we hit senior year, we cannot forget that today represents a culmination of all of our efforts we put in since our very first day of freshman year. 

We all have our eyes set on the future with plans on what we wish to do with our lives. Some plans are incredibly detailed while others are vague, some appear set in stone while others remain flexible. No matter what lies ahead, no matter the differences in the futures we all see for ourselves, there stands one undeniable truth: so long as we continue our efforts and strive to achieve our goals with the same vigor utilized to reach this very point, then I know that those futures are well within reach.

No doubt life will become overwhelming at times as we take on our new roles as growing adults, but so long as you take things step by step, work day by day, then there is nothing that cannot be accomplished. That’s not to say that we should spend our whole lives working day in and day out. Let our own stories of the past years be a testament to how much can be achieved through the work we do every day, no matter how big or small, how important or insignificant our actions may seem.

Balance work and play, spend an equal amount of time working as doing something you love to do. Be that playing an instrument, a sport, video games, a card game. Our hobbies, the things that we love doing, are just as much a part of ourselves as our accomplishments in education. Because we’re not just here to celebrate our graduation or the fact that we managed to pass all of our classes. We’re here to celebrate a grand transition in our lives. We’re celebrating having learned about ourselves in the time we’ve spent together here at Live Oak as well as all that there is still yet to learn about ourselves moving forward.

For all the changes that graduation represents, some things may never truly change. And that’s why it’s important to keep your head held high and plunge forward, taking the good with the bad, the quiet moments with the loud, the stressful times with the relaxing ones.

I leave my fellow Acorns with this parting message: Life is a game of balance, and if we can manage to keep the scales even, then there’s no doubt we’ll find our own sense of happiness in the times ahead.

Experience and challenge

By Josef Mosher, Sobrato High School Salutatorian

Look at all these beautiful faces… is what I would have said if I was standing on this stage in front of you.

Before I commence my virtual speech amidst this global pandemic, I would love to thank everybody who has brought me here today: my friends, my family, my teachers and administration as I couldn’t have done it without all of your support.

The novel, A Tale of Two Cities, begins with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” It’s a book that I didn’t read but I feel accurately describes my high school experience. High school is a hit or miss, a knock-out.

Experience. One gains experience by going through challenges; by gaining experience, you’re preparing yourself for future challenges. Life is a game of experience versus challenge, and whether or not the challenges you have faced have given the experience you need to challenge yourself again. 

I have faith that each and every one of you will be able to leave your highschool challenges behind and focus on the experience you gained to continue to challenge yourself on the road ahead. 

I wish you all the best of luck and thank you for your attention. 

‘We have done it’

By Kenneth Bui, Sobrato High School Salutatorian

I wish I could see all of you at this moment, screaming in your face like I would but sadly I’m not allowed to run to each and everyone’s house to do so.

That being said, even in this horrible situation, quarantine has yet to change my mindset about the students and faculty at Sobrato. 

As a freshman, I used to look at the senior tables and ponder what senior year would look like. And although I could not have predicted a global pandemic I still am happy with what I see. 

We walked the halls everyday and as the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, nothing seemed to ever change. We sat together, we laughed together, and we dodged bird poop together. 

My fellow seniors, I understand your frustrations with what is going on right now. But now is not a time to worry or be mad. For the past four years, you have pushed your way through every obstacle imaginable and you are still standing. Look down at that gown you are wearing. Look up at that cap that is on your head. You’ve earned it. We have done it.

I want to say “Congrats” to all of you and I want to say that I love each and everyone of you except Jeremy Nguyen. I’ll see you soon.

Use quarantine wisely

By Jacob Paulson, Live Oak High School Salutatorian

“Senioritis is a colloquial term… used to describe the decreased motivation toward studies displayed by students who are nearing the end of their high school careers.” From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. When I read about this “Senioritis” thing, it was pretty concerning. Not because I was super worried about my grades, but because I was pretty sure that if my motivation to do schoolwork decreased any lower than it already had, I’d finally figure out how negative numbers apply to the real world. Negative motivation plus negative inspiration equals staying up way later than necessary to finish up Mr. Leonard’s article analysis.

Despite the math, we all made it through the year, for the most part, despite this senioritis. Until, of course, something a bit more substantial brought it to a halt. However, Viktor Frankl once wrote that even in situations fully out of our control, we maintain “The last of human freedoms—the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.” As such, I believe we’re challenged to look for the positives of the times we live in. 

On that note, my fellow class of 2020, I would like to congratulate you. Some may say that this pandemic has stripped us of our Senior year, that it has kept us from experiencing everything that we deserved to, that it has robbed us. And while these things may be true, it has also afforded us a great opportunity. Seniors, we have accomplished that which no other class before us has. We have successfully executed what have been, by my calculations, by far the most successful series of Senior Ditch Days ever attempted by the students of Live Oak High School. For this I think we all deserve a round of applause. 

And as such, having conquered the longest Senior Ditch Day seen in decades, possibly ever, I task you to have something besides chronic senioritis to show for all your time off. Make sure to use this time in quarantine wisely. Whether that involves you learning a new skill, or taking some time to regain focus in life, it doesn’t matter. I believe that everybody here is going to be able to come out of this quarantine better prepared, well rested, and completely desperate for social interaction. The only way left to go after this is all over is upwards. As the wall of the largest stall of the boy’s bathroom in the English building says: “Don’t peak in high school.” Never forget that.

Thank you, Central family

By Crystal Mendoza, Central High School

Finally! The day we’ve been waiting years for is finally here.

Although today is not what we expected, it is a celebration.

This is an accomplishment. WE DID IT.

Coming to Central completely changed my mindset. Central made me grow as a person. The care the staff has for their students is unbelievable. They give you that push that many of us needed. They never fail to make you see the potential you have. They are always in your business. They are like family—my extended family.,

I will forever be thankful for the great memories made at Central from hanging out in Ms. Brink’s office to having our talks to eating lunch in Ms. Andrade’s, joking around with Mr. Gilford and listening to music in Mrs. Reyna’s office.

Thank you not just being a space, being a welcoming school, but being a second home for us.

Thank you Mrs Martin!