As I stand here in front of all of you today, my heart is filled with joy. I am joyous because in this moment I get to share with you the adventures, the perils, and the triumphant moments my classmates and I have gone through together these past four years. Moments so precious and irreplaceable that they suddenly make every hour spent completing homework, studying for exams, and staying up late finishing up projects all worth it.
Over the past four years, my classmates and I have all had moments to be proud of, moments such as passing our English and math proficiency exams freshman year, and moments such as winning spirit week in both our junior and senior years, which would not have been possible if our class wasn’t filled with the best Oreo stackers, Sudoku players, creative thinkers and basketball players in the entire world. These, by the way, are all skills I can promise you we will use again in the future, because you never know when someone might pull out a box of Oreos and challenge you to an Oreo stacking contest, right?
But on a serious note, many of us have been waiting for this day since our freshman year of high school. A day in which we would all be standing side by side with the biggest smiles on our faces because we knew after today we would have accomplished one of our biggest goals – graduating from high school. A moment that seemed years away when we were freshmen but suddenly became all that we could think about the minute our senior year began. Getting to this day however was not always easy; there were days when many of us forgot to study for an exam, left the math homework that we worked on the night before for two hours in our lockers, and even forgot our notes at home sitting on our desks (which of course all apply to me, just ask Mr. Trapani about the one time I forgot my notes, an instance he still won’t let me forget to this day). However, even on our darkest days my classmates and I always seemed to pull through and execute the most difficult tasks with grace, and it is this same resilience and determination that will make us all successful at our universities this fall.
When begin college, we will once again find ourselves stepping into the unknown, but there are a few things that I want you all to remember. Graduating today is a big accomplishment but our lives have just begun, in the next four years there are many things that we will experience, that we will see, and that we will do that we might have never thought about before. So always be open – try new things, join clubs, make a difference at your universities. We are all capable of doing as much, we have the skills and the tools, and now it is up to us to apply them. Believe in yourself and in your dreams because no matter what your past looks like, we have all made it this far. There will be times when we find ourselves discouraged but always remember that you can do anything you set your mind to. Never give up or give in because each and every one of us has an array of gifts to offer the world, which many of the teachers, faculty and staff here at Cristo Rey have never let us forget. It is because of their support, teachings, and kind words that we stand here today. With that being said, I want to say thank you – thank you for making yourself available whenever we needed you, thank you for getting to know us both as students and as individuals, and thank you most importantly for believing in us and never letting us give up on ourselves, no matter how much we complained. It’s hard to imagine attending classes next year and not seeing Mrs. Wagner in the front of the room making a new sound effect. It’s hard to imagine not walking into Ms. Searby’s room in the morning and receiving my daily insult. It’s hard to imagine not singing along to “I Want Candy” with Ms. Enrique right before Thanksgiving break, swapping music with Ms. Brito, giving Fr. Colombo my daily hug, sharing laughs with Mrs. Vargas, and even walking into Mr. Trapani or Ms. Sweeney’s room just to talk. Graduating today and leaving them behind is bittersweet; however, I am more confident in my abilities because of each and every one of them and I am truly glad that I was able to have such amazing people in my life. I would also like to thank our principal, Fr. Medina, Ms. Degnan, Ms. Theo, Ms. Williams and every other faculty member and teacher that my classmates and I have had the opportunity to know and be students of. You too, were a major part in our success and I want to thank you for all the hard work that you put towards the class of 2012.
Our teachers and faculty could not have done such an amazing job, however, without our parents. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge all of the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and families of the graduating class of 2012. We have all made it to this point because of your support, your encouragement, and your love. Thank you for standing by our sides when times got tough and for being our cheerleaders these past four years. I would especially like to thank my own parents, Claude Edouard and Ermite Thelusma. As I stand up here today I hope that in some way I have made you two proud. Thank you for always supporting me, believing in me and never letting me give up on myself. It is because of you that I have made it this far and from the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you and I love you both. I would also like to thank my brother and sister who have come here today to share this special moment with me, and thank my aunts, uncles and cousins for being my rock throughout high school.
Before I forget, I would like to take a moment to thank all of the Corporate Work Study Sponsors who have stuck with us for the past four years. Thank you for your guidance, your patience, and for the skills you have helped us develop within these years. I would especially like to thank my supervisors and coworkers at the New England Aquarium, Ironshore, and Greater Media. You have all made my experiences meaningful and ones that I will never forget.
Finally, I would like to say thank you to my fellow classmates. These past four years have been an amazing experience and they are years that I would never take back. Each and every one of you has taught me something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. There are a million things that I will miss but I will especially miss the morning walks to school when we were in Cambridge, the after school trips to Verna’s just to buy a donut, moving into our new school and trading in Verna’s for McKenna’s and donuts for iced coffees, breakfast sandwiches and dozens of plates of cheesy fries. I’ll even miss hearing Irvin’s incredibly loud voice in the hallways and the cyper sessions in the cafeteria. The laughs shared, the hugs given, and the moments spent I will always be held near and dear to my heart. This journey has been an incredible one and I hope that it meant as much to you as it did to me. We may be going our separate ways but I am always a text, a phone call or a Facebook message away if you ever need me. I wish you all the best and most importantly CONGRATULATIONS, WE MADE IT!