By Katya Michelle Rivas Posada
Board of directors, teachers, parents, guests, and fellow classmates. It’s a great honor for me to be standing here today with all of you. However, this achievement has not been of my own doing since it's the result of the continuous support from those who stood beside me all along. First of all, I would like to give thanks to God, who has guided every step of my life, filled it with infinite love, and has given me the strength and wisdom I’ve needed. To my family, my dad, mom, sister, and brother, for all of their love, inspiration, and for every sacrifice they made for me to pursue my goals. To my teachers, who sparked that fire within my mind with their knowledge and influenced the way in which I viewed the world for the better. And to all my friends and classmates who believed in me and filled these fourteen years with joy and laughter.
We all now form part of that future that we always looked forward to, the year that held many promises, adventures, and the chance to make a series of good memories. Despite all the challenges and sorrows, we made it to the end that marks the first stage of the rest of our lives. But this is just the beginning followed by uncertainty and new choices to make. From now on we start making decisions for ourselves, picking our paths independently, filled with a new sense of freedom and responsibility. It will not be easy most of the time, but we need to go through that storm to prepare for what life has planned for us.
Today, as we look around us there are a lot of faces that we may never see again since we will all be taking different paths. This is a transcendental moment as we go out into this chaotic world filled with fear and anger. However, that doesn’t mean we need to form part of that kind of world, nor does it mean we must remain silent if we do not agree with it. We must remain true to ourselves, to our convictions, and to all the values we learned here.
From now on we move towards our next goal, which for most of us could be graduating from college. But once again, those four years mark only the beginning of the rest of our lives, they don’t determine who we are meant to be. Life will continue taking unexpected turns along the way, but we always need to continue working to fulfill our personal purpose by setting goals. It doesn't matter the career you decide to pursue, but whatever it is make sure you enjoy it. Employ all of your talents, be creative, express your ideas, and always remember to pursue what brings you joy.
What matters the most in life is the way in which you learn to unfold yourself daily, how you approach adversity, the experiences you get to live with others, and the impact you make wherever you go. That’s the legacy you will leave behind. Whenever you want to give up, recognize how far you have come and know you have the power to do so much more.
Finally, no matter where you go, don’t ever forget where you came from. Your home. The chance of making a difference for this country, or for the world, starts with the will and desire to do it. Fight for the truth, for justice, but most importantly for love. Be that spark of hope wherever you go.
Congratulations Class of 2021! I will miss you all so much.