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.