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Student speeches from KCHS graduation
 
Good Evening, Platform Guests, Administration, Faculty, Staff, Families, Friends, and the Class of 2022! 
 
I would like to welcome you to Kent County High School’s 51st Annual Graduation! 
 
My name is Brooke Fithian, and I am this year’s Senior Class Representative. I am honored to have the opportunity to speak to you today.
 
Members of the Class of 2022, we have achieved a lot over our four years at Kent County High School. These past four years have involved some of the most influential and memorable moments of our lives.
 
From an individual standpoint, each of our experiences here are unique, but together we share the bond of the Class of 2022.
 
At school, we have had each other, administrators, teachers, guidance counselors, and other staff to make sure we made it to this point academically. At home, we have had our families encourage and support our endeavors. And, in the community, we have had leaders and mentors to guide our lives in a positive way.
 
Because of this, I want to say thank you to everyone here and those who could not make it on our special day. All of you have shaped and molded us into the young adults we are today. 
 
Therefore, I hope you listen to our speakers today, not only with your ears, but with your hearts as well, and truly appreciate what has been done and sacrificed so that we may honorably wear our caps and gowns tonight. Take the advice and support as it will lead us into our next journey. 
 
And last, but certainly, not least I would like to Congratulate my classmates, the Class of Two 2022. I am so proud of each and every one of you.

****

Class President Alana Fithian Wilson offers a message to her fellow seniors.
Alana Fithian Wilson, Class President
 
Welcome family and friends, bienvenidos familia y amigos.
 
I would like to present a few words to my fellow peers.
 
Dear KCHS Class of 2022,
 
We survived. And although that may sound dramatic, let me remind you of why I say this; we’ve endured 13 changes in administration, countless acts of violence, virtual learning, the loss of numerous life-changing opportunities, a loss in social skills, a decrease in mental health, and last but certainly not least a pandemic.
 
And still, we persevere. 
 
Even though life has not been the kindest to us when it comes to our time here at KCHS, I’d like to reflect on a few hard life lessons we've experienced together.
 
For one, even when someone is supposed to support you, there is always a chance that they won’t. Life has taught us to support ourselves and that is only going to become more vital as we get older. Your mental health should be the top priority in order to be the best version of you for the people you surround yourself with. 
 
Number two, speak up for yourself. Never let your worth be dulled by those around you. If you have something to say, say it. You are your own advocate and your opinion is valuable. 
Number three, just because others are making bad decisions, whether that be in actions or friend choice, you by no means have to follow. Be true to yourself always.
 
And lastly, but not least, never lose sight of your morals and values in an ever-changing world. 
I believe in each and every one of you. You all have the potential to create positive change and it’s up to you to make it happen.
 
I hope you all have used the good and the bad experiences to deepen your understanding of yourselves.
 
Although the years have been rough, I know that bright days lie ahead of us all.
 
Finally, I’d like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to be your class President. You all have gifted me with the chance to lead you and now it’s time for us all to become the leaders in our own journeys.
 
Congratulations Class of 2022.
 
Thank you, Gracias
 
****

alutatorian Christopher Hinton gives a speech about finding your way.
Christopher Hinton, Salutatorian
 
Thank you to all of our families, teachers, siblings, and friends for coming out here tonight.
 
You’ve been such a big help to us through high school and all of our lives, and we are honored to share this celebration with you today.
 
I’ve lived in Kent County since I was four years old, but I still haven’t come close to exploring the whole county. 
 
A few weeks ago, I was driving through downtown Chestertown for the first time, and I was totally lost. I knew which way I had to go to get back to the main road, but I had no idea which roads led to it and which ones didn’t. I
 
 ran into dead ends, ended up on a few one-way roads that took me in the wrong direction, and even crossed the road I was trying to get on without realizing it, but eventually, I got where I was going.
 
I would have gotten there a lot faster if I had used Google Maps, but finding my own way back was a lot more fun and rewarding. 
 
The point of all this is, don’t be afraid to explore your options and go down new roads without knowing where they lead.
 
You’re graduating high school today, and for the first time, you have the opportunity to go wherever you want to go. 
 
So do that: Go wherever it is that you want to go.
 
There isn’t one clear-cut road to success, and even if there was one, you’d have a much better time finding your own way.
 
You’re in the driver’s seat now, and you can take yourself on whatever path you want that leads to your destination.
 
Take the long way around, and explore new places that you may not have heard of before.
 
And if you get lost along the way, don’t worry; as long as you keep moving in the right direction, you will reach your destination.

****

Valedictorian Sam Buckel addresses his classmates at graduation.
Sam Buckel, Valedictorian
 
Good evening.
 
I would like to begin with a round of thank yous.
 
To the faculty who guided us in our academic journeys, and to the staff who worked tirelessly to keep us healthy and safe.
 
To the generations of student scholars, both past and present, who’ve fought for justice, inclusion, and progress at this institution to make it the place it is today.
 
And, of course, to our families and friends, whose love and support kept us afloat over the past four years. 
 
As I understand it, my task today is one of closure.
 
I am to celebrate, to synthesize, and to send off the past four years and all that they’ve contained.
 
The first of these objectives is easy.
 
In your time here, you’ve successfully navigated 4 school years, traversed eight whole semesters, and conquered the independent work process.
 
You’ve made cool art; you’ve told groundbreaking stories.
 
You’ve advocated for change and explored systems from the microscopic to the human, to the cosmic.
 
I feel very lucky to have crossed paths with you all, and I can’t wait to watch you guys save the world. Congratulations.
 
Synthesis, as it turns out, is a harder goal.
 
The multi-day extravaganza of graduation, with all its celebrations and ceremonies, positions this moment as a kind of temporal inflection point.
 
In the narrow space between past and future, we are invited to stand together and to reckon with our collective experience of this place.
 
This shared reflection is valuable, but it is also complicated.
 
In prescribing a particular emotional arc of celebration and nostalgia, the rituals of commencement sometimes miss the complexity and diversity of student experiences at this school. 
 
What I’m saying is that on this day of your genesis, your leap, your commencement, your mark in your history.
 
You are graduating from a school whose mission it is to not just hand you a diploma, but a sword. You either start wielding it or you put it away as a conversation piece.
 
Because there is no cap to success.
 
Success is transcribed differently for everyone. Each member of this graduating class has a different goal, a different passion, and inevitably different success.
 
My success is a story of survival, of conquered isolation, of rumination. An amalgamation of feelings towards these four years at Kent County High School.
 
And with that, we are each a patchwork quilt of those who have loved us, those who have believed in our futures, those who showed us empathy and kindness or told us the truth even when it wasn’t easy to hear.
 
Those who told us we could do it when there was absolutely no proof of that.
 
Someone read stories to you and taught you to dream and offered up some moral code of right and wrong for you to try and live by. Someone tried their best to explain every concept in this insanely complex world to the child that was you.
 
And maybe they didn’t do it perfectly. No one ever can. Maybe they aren’t with us anymore, and in that case, I hope you’ll remember them today.
 
If they are here in this stadium, I hope you’ll find your own way to express your gratitude for all the steps and missteps that have led us to this common destination.

We are all here for a reason, we are all here on a shared journey.
 
If there is one thing I can leave with you today, it would be this: Hard things will happen to us. We will recover. We will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it. 
 
And as long as we are fortunate enough to be breathing, we will breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, breathe out.

Seniors clap for one another as the diplomas are announced.

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