Greetings, faculty, friends, family, and most of all, to the MHS graduating class of 2017.
If I could, this is where I'd launch into a monologue the general experience the class of 2017 had over the last four years, conjuring up images of blue and gold benches, half-cooked lunches, and that terrible tree smell in the spring. I'd reference the colleges we're going to, say that I love you all, and use some tired cocoon-to butterfly metaphor to cap it all off. And, to be honest, I could. But that wouldn't be telling the truth.
Talking about this MHS class in a general term is contradictory to everything I've learned about this school. Our experiences are the farthest thing from uniform that you can imagine-- we're not the faceless crowd, trudging through the same familiar hallways, taking the same path here.
The thing about MHS is that it's so big that none of us will have ever shared the same exact story. In a class of over 700, we manage to find our way by making it feel small. We call MHS our home, but the real places we made our own are far more intimate than that; a table that's barely covered by a shade, where your closest friends never fail to crack you up. The band room. Studying in a classroom for your next Science Olympiad competition, late at night. The football field, under those Friday Night Light-- these are just some of the places where you might have made your mark.
As I stand in front of an eclectic, diverse, and yes, even strange group of people (I'm willing to bet that half of you have no idea who I am) I just think painting the picture of this class in broad strokes is the biggest injustice you can commit. The stories of these seniors are all in the details, the one we've etched out for ourselves over the last four years. And that's why I think today shouldn't be about the nameless, massive class walking, the principal, or maybe even the stranger talking right at this moment. We shouldn't be politely applauding for an entire class; we should be screaming, jumping, making a fool out of ourselves, for the ones who are special to us. And so I say that today isn't about us, but for you, the biggest character in your own story, and the people who brought you here. A celebration of the inside jokes, personal quirks, and struggles overcome that you and you loved ones know best, because you lived it. You don't' have to shared today. So don't.
All of these little details that separate you from the person next to you will hopefully be a part of the memories that you experience today. As the years step out the door with you, you'll catch some of the great victories you had here, fro being captain of the varsity golf team to (and this is my personal greatest achievement in high school) crossing up a friend 1-on-1 on those familiar blacktop courts on a random Tuesday afternoon. Inevitable, they'll be some experiences that linger around that can't wait to kick out, like forgetting to do the back of a chemistry test (more than once). And perhaps the ones that we’ll miss the most of all are the smallest moments that we took for granted: those milk tea and pizza runs, or an idle conversation with your best friend. Luckily (or perhaps unluckily for you), it's the school we're saying goodbye to, not the memories we made. They're coming along with us for the ride ahead, as evidence of the effect you've had on the world around you.
Our graduation isn't really going to be about the sitting and standing, the music and chair arrangement. No, the real graduation might be what occurs afterwards: when we can see the people whose lives we changed. This day is for the friends who shared late night calls with us, who exchanged countless texts wit us, who bring out the best in us, and stay for the worst. Some of them should be sitting next to you, walking with you today and some, undoubtedly will be cheering you on from the stands. We couldn't have made it through the last four years without you, and even if we could, it would hardly be a journey worth taking.
To the teachers we truly treasure ( you know who you are): The ones who offered us their love and trust, who pushed us to new heights, who welcomed us in a hallways with the brightest and most sincere smiles. To the teachers who know our names, and better yet, understood the students that came with them. Coming from the quietest kid in every class, you left an indelible impact on me and so many others graduating today, and for that, I'm grateful.
And perhaps most importantly, to the families that have come out in support of us today, just as they have done for the last four years and beyond, you've played the greatest role of all. I stand fast by the fact that the only reason I'm standing up here today is because I've had a secret weapon every day of my high school life: every single school day (and I mean EVERY school day) I eat my mom's chicken and rice for lunch, and every morning, she wakes up before me to make chicken and pasta for breakfast. (you laugh, but it clearly works, so who' laughing now?) To the the parents who pushed us and comforted us, provided for us and always offered their unconditional love, nothing we do will ever be enough to repay you, In a moment of self-indulgence, I'm going to thank my parents, who don't hear this enough, and my sister, who never fails to remind me that I'm not cool. (And lastly, to my 84 year old grandma, who found the strength to come out here today and doesn't understand a word of what I'm saying. I'm awful at Chinese, but I think it’s quite telling that although I've grown up Cantonese all my life, the only real words of Chinese I know how to say are "Grandma" and "thank you". So, from my heart( daw che, mama). I hope you can hear me.
At such a big school, it's so easy to feel lost, insignificant, voiceless--another blank face in the enormous crowd you see today, as I expected when I first came here. But if this day proves anything, it's that we've each made our impact in the homes that we've found and on the people around us, and that impact is anything but quiet. With the roar that'll follow us tonight, the world we're about to enter just can't help but listen. So friends, family, and my fellow classmates, get ready to cheer and scream and clap your heart out.
Because for the last time, the Milpitas High Class of 2017 is about to take the stage.
Welcome everyone, I am Vincent Francis and I am glad to see you all here with us today. Going through school felt like crawling out of a hole, or sinking in quicksand even. I had always thought that school was meant to be this way, that I wouldn't get out of this enclosed path of despair and anguish. I thought I had to go through school like everyone else did, struggling just to find my way, until I got to Calaveras Hills. I School went from making me feel like a basket case to something I woke up excited for, something I strived to do. It gave me purpose. I no longer felt like a drone that had to do something that didn't work for me to be successful. When going to Cal hills, I changed for the better and witnessed change amongst my peers as well. I've met new people, people I have come to call family, and I truly wish them the best too.
Those graduating and I have learned how to surpass the hardships within our lives when it comes to school, and no matter how we did it, we got here knowing that facing our responsibilities is definitely worth it. I've beaten depression, cast away my lack of confidence, and found a direction in life I know can work out well. And for those I've met, that I've grown with, I get to witness being here with you all today and I consider that the best of my accomplishments, Ito see others you care about succeeding is truly one of the best feelings you can have. The challenges ahead are still in our way, however we will tackle them the same way we have before. Whether these obstacles are getting into college, finding our true love, or settling into a home or career, we will persist. Together we have challenged the odds and will continue to do so.
All in all, working with this class has taught me many things, but most prominently I have learned the lessons of persistence and hope. We've learned from some of the most inspiring men and women to ever step into the role of teaching, and we truly respect every endeavor they have made to help us get through this journey. Let us rejoice for one final time until we set off, remembering that when you don't give up as a team or as an individual you WILL make an impact strong enough to influence the world around you. II will end this with a quote from the old Chinese Philosopher Confucious: "It does not matter how slowly you 20 so lone as you do not stop." Even if you find yourself snuggling later in your life, remember what you did in those moments at High School that you struck back against the odds and got through it.
Good evening and welcome families, teachers, dignitaries, and fellow graduates. My name is Wrightsil La rot and with admiration it is my honor to address the class of 2017. Initially, attending high school was difficult in the beginning of my freshman and sophomore year due to my anxiety. I would be afraid of so many unexplainable things and because of that I failed every single one of my classes. It hurt knowing that I could do so much better. I just felt like a failure because everyone, including myself, knew I was capable of more than that. Luckily, starting off my sophomore year I transferred from Milpitas High to
Calaveras Hills High School. Despite all the whispers of how continuation school's are, it ended being the best decision of my life.
Beginning my sophomore year I thought it would be a fresh start for me but just as I had done before, my behavior and struggle with school became an ongoing rollercoaster of messing around and ditching. I was at square one all over again. I felt hopeless. A big piece of me wondered why I couldn't just get it together. Then suddenly junior year arrived; thoughts flooded my head, what if I didn't stop? That if I didn't quit doing what I was doing and grow up, I wouldn't be able to graduate. Thankfully I came to my senses and turned my whole mindset of school around and made it my first priority in life. I was able to prove to everyone what I was really capable of. Graduating with honors for all 3 quarters and
with only 4 classes at the end of the year is something I knew I could do. The amount of dignity I have in myself is inexplicable.
We all have different experiences in high school that can have both positive and negative effects on someone, but because of mine I have transformed into the person I'm proud to say I am today. Throughout these years I was able to gain insight on what's right and what's wrong, to keep only beneficial relationships, flourish from my mistakes, and not allow little things to get in the way and phase me. I am able to look past all my flaws and issues and keep moving forward no matter the situation because I know that nothing can stop me. But I can't take all the credit, I know that everyone goes through their own hardships in different ways, and luckily for me I had an irreplaceable support system. My gratitude runs deep for God, my beautiful mom, sister, cousin Kaylene, best friend Mikala, and the rest of my loving family. Thank you all for everything, I don't know what I'd do without you guys.
I also want to give a huge thank you to. Ms. Komar, Mr. Ladre, Ms. Scott and the rest of the Cal hills faculty for never giving up on us and believing in us when no one else did. You've all added to our success. I know that without everyone's guidance along with our own perseverance, it wouldn't have been possible. I am dignified to say that there is no other high school I would have rather attended.
And to my fellow classmates, because of our actions and decisions we are here now receiving our diploma but graduating is not the last chapter of your life. It is only the first few steps for a bright future that awaits. You all are capable of completing so much more than what you managed to accomplish today. Each and every single one of us have all had tough barriers that we've been able to break that made us into the individuals we are now. Christina Rasmussen once said, "You can do the impossible, because you have been through the unimaginable". So you all should always strive for the best not only because you're capable of it, but because you deserve it. Ultimately I just want to say congratulations to the class of 2017. After four long powerful years of laughter, growth, and craziness this is the day that each and every one of us have been craving to experience. We did it!
Hi my name is Kiara Smith and I am honored to be here talking for our graduates, family, and staff . My fellow classmates know that you have to fight for what you want. Fighting for what you want isn't easy and there is a process. This past year and a half at Calaveras Hills High has really helped me discover who I am. When I came here to Calaveras Hills, I was messing up at Milpitas High School. All I was worried about were boys, looking cute, going out, and skipping class. My mind wasn't in the right place. I was lacking motivation and determination. When you don't know the work because it's too hard and you've missed so much work, and people aren't there to push you, it makes a successful turnaround almost impossible.
Not to mention the struggles that you have to deal with when you go home. Your grandma having alzheimer's and she can't wash, cook, clean, or do anything for herself, and your mom works throughout the day so someone has to take care of her. It makes you want to leave school while you was there because you couldn't hang out after school. Also worrying about if their is enough food to eat because you have a family of 8 and only one of your parents works because of things that happened when they were younger. All of these challenges can work to throw you off your path, or you can use them to motivate you to be the best you can be.
After transferring to Calaveras Hills High it was like moving because I was surrounded by a lot of people I didn't know. I had no best friend to hang out with because she was at Milpitas High and the another had moved away. I was put in a new environment but it didn't change who I was. I still left to hang out and go do things I shouldn't have been doing. I was going into my classes and just sitting there because I didn't know what I wanted. I was falling farther and farther behind and if I didn't catch up now I wasn't going to be able to catch up at all. When we are younger we all had excuses that we use. But with those excuses brought more problems. We need to get rid of our excuses to help us get through our journey of life.
I'm not saying that I just turned my life around and never did anything wrong again. But I started thinking "I'm not doing anything for myself'. I don't work, clean, or go to school. So before summer of 2016 I got a job. It wasn't the best but I could help my mom with food or gas or whatever it was that I needed. Starting school again my best friend and I wanted to go back to Milpitas high school, but when I started to think was this what I wanted? To go back to a school with a whole bunch of people that I didn't know? Or was this what she wanted I realized that i did want to stay at Cal Hills where I could continue to get the help and support that I needed, even when I didn't ask for it.
During my four years of high school I had so many friends in and out of my life. Milpitas high is a big school so coming to Cal Hills there was so many less students. People that I went to school with at MHS but had no intentions of talking to turned out to be some of my best friends once we were at Cal Hills. There was still drama around campus but I learned and not tell people to just brush it off and focus .. Why lower your standards to fit other people's expectations. Keep your focus and stay on your path to where you need to go.
I've been through some rough things in the past two years. My grandfather died of cancer and fought with everything that he had. But God put people and events in my life as stepping stones, so with each step there's a lesson to learn. Cal hills has offered me so many opportunities. They offer so many after school programs and in school programs like Out to Lunch, Fly, Study hall, Adult Ed, sports, and more. It gives us opportunities to keep ourselves out of trouble instead of doing the wrong thing. Going to this school I have always got the love and support from my teachers. It didn't matter what I was doing they urged me to do my best no matter what.
So to the class of 2017, I just remind you to continue to push yourself. We all have different lives, with different struggles that each of us are going through. Just because we a graduating from a continuation school it's doesn't make us any less than someone graduating for a comprehensive high school. We have some of the smartest people that I've met here. We have the brightest opportunities. People talk down on our school but they don't know we have programs that offer us internships with scholarships. We may not have the top grades but we have support and love from our teachers. People think that our school is full of druggies, drunks, and people that don't care about their education. But we just needed someone to give us some motivation to want to graduate and learn from our mistakes, rather than repeat them. To my fellow classmates I just urge you to keep swimming no matter what is thrown your way. Our journey is barely beginning and I can't wait to see what our future has ahead of us.