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West Orange Times & Observer Friday, May 20, 2022 1 month ago

Foundation Academy: Valedictorian's speech

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From surpassing the senior class scholarship record to covering the school in toilet paper, we have truly left our mark on Foundation Academy. 

The Class of 2022 has gone above and beyond in our accomplishments, and we should all be proud of the men and women we have become. From surpassing the senior class scholarship record to covering the school in toilet paper, we have truly left our mark on Foundation Academy. 

Coming to Foundation Academy from Sebring in eighth grade as the new kid, I hardly knew anybody. I had never been in a new school environment before, so being the new guy on campus was a bit awkward for me. To my friends, thank you for welcoming me into this environment with open arms (although Bowman was pretty skeptical with how my Invisalign braces looked) and for all of the unforgettable memories we have made over the past five years. You all have made high school an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life. 

To all of the teachers and faculty at Foundation Academy: Thank you for all of the wisdom and knowledge you have instilled in us. Even during times of hardships and setbacks, you all have been there to support the students in our journeys. Specifically, I’d like to reflect upon a time during our sophomore year, when we first got pushed to online schooling due to COVID. Mr. Campbell, not being the most tech-savvy of the teachers out there, no offense Mr. Campbell, made class a thrilling experience by pulling out one of those old-timer projectors in his house to teach us chemistry — all while using a medieval sword as a pointer to specify the most pertinent content we needed to understand. Along with Ian vlogging freshmen year in Ms. LJ’s class and Mr. Davis teaching us to think for ourselves by staying away from that distrustful mainstream media, moments like these are ones we can as a class say positively molded who we are today. Even though it may sound cliché, you all have made me truly believe the idea that FA is family. 

Many of us are experiencing an abundant range of feelings and emotions about this next chapter of life. We are jubilant to leave this old one behind and start anew, but no matter where we go, we will always face problems and setbacks. Whether it is a failed test in college or a discouraging job interview, how we respond to these moments of despair is what will lead to our major comebacks. I love this quote by the great Henry Ford: “Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and griefs which we endure help us in our marching onward.” We will all have our own setbacks every single day but our persistence to keep pushing is what will make every single one of us successful individuals. It took Thomas Edison over 1,000 attempts to invent the light bulb. So, if you are passionate about something, pursue that passion knowing that you will face many trials and tribulations. Your grit and determination is what will make success inevitable in the end. Just make sure you know what defines success for you. Success is not the same for everyone. If you fail, you are not a failure. Take courage in the face of adversity because failure may just open your eyes and make you realize that you can be successful in a different avenue. 

As we explore our new beginnings, I encourage you all to never underestimate the power and influence we can have on society. Each one of us was gifted with unique, God-given talents that can be used to change the world. Seniors, thank you for an incredible year and I look forward to hearing about everyone’s future endeavors. Pool party at 12:20!

— Nathan Andrews

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