Good evening, and welcome teachers, students, parents, and all supporters of graduates to our 2019 Cal Hills Graduation!
My name is Jeda Aspiras and I am very happy to be here with you because we all worked too hard to get here.
Before Cal Hills, I never had a strong support system or a good experience going to school. As a student before coming to Cal Hills, I did not see a purpose in coming to school, or school in general. I was at a really low point in my life and my mental health was preventing me from having hope in a future. my environment started becoming toxic.
I transferred to independent studies thinking it was my only option of having a new start. At first I didn’t want to go to Cal Hills because it was so talked down upon by my classmates and family, “Why do you want to go there? You’re smart,” “You messed up, huh?” I just knew I needed to be around people again, so I decided to try Cal Hills. But when I first walked into this school, it was different from what others made it seem like.
All these stereotypes about Cal Hills were wrong. Despite giving students more credit opportunities academically, this school also provided me with a sense of purpose. As a senior now, I realize if I had just put my pride aside and didn’t believe the stereotypical image of this school, I would’ve given it a shot a lot sooner with no second thought. My mindset had changed completely. I became involved at school. At Cal Hills I’ve been blessed with numerous opportunities such as joining my first sports teams, playing both basketball and softball. I participated in Fresh Lifelines for Youth where we learned about the laws and the rights that we have. I also was a Safe School Ambassador, served on School Site council, Student council, and lastly, I was the first ever Calaveras Hills representative on the Milpitas Unified School District’s Board of Education.
More than just academics, here at Cal Hills we are a family, we all serve a purpose, and despite all our backgrounds we’re accepted and work to bring each other up. I felt so welcomed by the staff and finally felt like I belonged somewhere. Ms. Bence, thank you for staying in my life when I needed you most. You are more than just my teacher, you have always been there in big and small ways that showed me love. Just sitting with me on the back steps of the 300 building when I was brand new to this school and didn’t know anyone yet meant a lot to me. I’ve never felt this connected or wanted so much to build on my future. Just that is enough to put a smile on my face every morning and excites me to go to school. This is my school and my home and I am proud to be graduating from it. I would also like to thank Mr. Tiberius so so much for being the best math teacher I’ve ever had in all of my years in school. He showed me that I was good at math, I just needed to believe in myself. and catered to my learning style rather than focusing on my mistakes. Thank you Mr. Tiberius for never making me feel stupid.
There are many other staff and students that have supported me throughout this year that I can’t thank enough, you know who you are.
Class of 2019, before we leave today, I want to remind you to be open to new experiences and not to go by preconceived notions or other people’s judgements. Sometimes things that seem like they are falling apart are actually falling into place. Thank you and let’s be proud of our journey and how far we’ve come today!