Unfortunately, due to the circumstances, our parents are not able to join us here today. But I would like to share a valuable lesson about mine regardless. My parents were married in a hurricane. You may be wondering why that matters, and why I care to mention it. Well, this year has been quite a bit like a hurricane for all of us. Our entire lives have been filled with events like hurricanes, actually. We were born around 9/11. We grew up not knowing of the uncertainty that seemed to surround our country. We grew up as the guinea pig class, as many of our teachers throughout the years have cared to call it. But we grew up nonetheless.
And as we grew, this day got closer and closer, seeming to move so slowly for us regardless of how quickly everyone else told us it would fly past. And we waited through our freshman and sophomore years, watching the upperclassmen move on, and patiently waiting for our turn. We waited through our junior year, the SATs, our prom and the sudden flood of dooming college visits and applications. And finally, we waited our senior year, holding our breaths and clenching our fists until we received an acceptance letter and could finally look around with our peers and say “we made it.” And then, as aforementioned, the hurricane came through. And it was not just one of those storms that make the power flicker on and off. This was a devastating category 5 hurricane that came raging at us with no warning and no cure.
But one of the things I will always remember is looking at my parents wedding pictures in our old photo albums. In these photos, many of the contents are of their guests all in their finest, mud-stained attire. Hurricane Bertha rolled in just as my mother had finished getting her hair done, but there was no talk of cancelling. Instead, trenches were dug and the shoes came off, and everyone danced in the rain. And here today, with my classmates, speaking to an empty auditorium, we will roll up our pant legs, and dance in the mud as well. We will dance in the rain and shout at the hurricane rolling in around us.
I leave you all, alongside one of the most courageous and well deserving groups of people I have ever met. And as we get through this time together, each and every one of us knows that we will be able to get through anything. And I cannot wait to see which hurricane we all tackle next. Thank you.