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

Ocoee High School: Valedictorian's speech

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I believe that no matter where life takes us, we will meet again. Until we do, we will carry each other in our hearts forever. 

I’d like to recognize our uniquely own teachers and staff. On behalf of my classmates, we thank you for everything you have done and for teaching us so much in our curriculum and life as well. We sincerely thank you and appreciate you for molding us into the young adults in cap and gowns sitting before you today. 

I personally want to thank Miss Stallings for putting up with me for never turning in my required community service hours until last week. Mrs. Hendricks, Wolfgramm and Diaz: Thank you for welcoming me into your offices whenever and providing me a safe place at this prison. … I mean school. I also want to thank Ms. Cannon for being more than just a teacher throughout this tough year. Your free therapy sessions during lunch really helped us more than we could ever show our gratitude for. To my friends: Thank you for dealing with my cheesy dad jokes, and I enjoyed the memories we’ve made. To my family: I would like to express a few words in Vietnamese — Cảm ơn ba mẹ trong thời gian qua — thank you for helping me the past few years. And to the Class of 2022, like Drake said, “We made it.”

Today, we become Ocoee graduates. The home of the Knights is now also the home of tomorrow’s doctors and lawyers, teachers and psychologists, financial analysts and data scientists, musicians and engineers, architects and nurses. 

Each of us had our own unique experiences at Ocoee — a combination of good times and bad times, times of laughter and of joy, times of school spirit, and of course, times of last-minute cramming and submitting assignments at 11:58 p.m. just to feel the relief from the celebratory confetti.

Graduation marks the end of yet another memorable chapter in our lives. With this chapter closed, I am certain that many of us are already anxious about starting the next one, because, unlike Mx. G’s quizzes, we cannot simply skip the readings and ace the test by Googling lit charts. We all have our own book of life that has not yet been written, and every day that passes is another page waiting to be written. 

As I stand here today, I want to leave you all with one final thought. … Life will rarely take you down the road you expect to travel, but the journey we take will always shape us more than the place we land. 

Congratulations to us all. We worked for it, and we deserve to celebrate ourselves. Let us remember where we came from, our childhood dreams and the challenges we’ve overcome. Let us believe we can accomplish anything, let us choose to prosper and succeed. In the words of Charles Dickens, “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.” 

I believe that no matter where life takes us, we will meet again. Until we do, we will carry each other in our hearts forever. 

Class of 2022, I love y’all. Class of 2022, we made it. Preston out.

— Preston Le 

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