Thank you for reminding me why I fought so hard to get here.
Thank you for proving to me that it was worth it.
Thank you for making me laugh, cry, and beam with pride.
Thank you for not giving up, especially when it would have been so easy to do so.
Thank you for trusting me with your struggles, fears, and hopes.
Thank you for asking me about my struggles, fears, and hopes.
Thank you for welcoming me to Philly and teaching me new slang.
Thank you for complimenting me and telling me that I’m “tough” and “got lay.”
Thank you for teaching me so much more than I could ever teach you.
Thank you for showing me how powerful you all are.
Thank you for not letting your circumstances stop you from trying and thriving.
Thank you for making this the most rewarding and inspirational year of my life.
I cannot wait to see how far you all go. Just remember that although it may seem like you’re climbing an impossible mountain, take a second to look at far you’ve already come and how much you’ve already accomplished.
To my graduating seniors, remember that doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will—you will be facing the hardest challenges you’ve ever had to face with balancing college classes, jobs, and family obligations—know that you are already enough. You do not have to prove your worth to anyone. Take care of yourselves and don’t be afraid to put yourself first when you have to, because when you thrive, the people around you will thrive too. I know that you all wouldn’t let yourselves succeed without giving back to your community and families, because those are the kind of people you all are.
To my freshman babies and underclassmen, be nice to your new fellows. They’re there to support you, just like I was there to support you. This is your school, your Plus Center, and your future—they’re just there to help you make it whatever you want it to be. Welcome them like you welcomed me. I’m going to miss you all so much and can’t wait to see your graduation photos. I’ll be crying and screaming into the air with joy for you all. I’m so proud of you all and know that I carry a piece of all of you in my heart as I continue on my journey—because growth never stops.
Thank you all again. This has been the best year of my life. I will miss you all so much, but know that you are all more than capable of flying, thriving, and achieving whatever you set your mind on—you just have to believe it too.