Each of Dr. Phillips High School's 2020 valedictorians share their thoughts.
Felix Aguilar Lugo
Good afternoon/morning to everybody present, my name is Felix Aguilar, and I am honored to give a farewell speech on behalf of my fellow classmates at Dr Phillips High School.
We are different people from who we were at the start of our freshmen year, growing wiser every day, learning from our experiences, like the long afternoons studying to ace a test, the warm days training to win against other schools’ teams, and the fun times we spent with friends either on or outside campus. Now it is our time to continue traveling on our journey and make our best efforts to reach our goals, supported by our knowledge and experience acquired during our years in High School. We give infinite thanks to our teachers for their great efforts in being our guides through our years learning, to our parents for their unconditional support, and to our classmates for being the best co-drivers. Finally, thank you Dr. Phillips High School for being a part of our road.
Today the world is giving us great lessons about life and humanity, but don't be afraid! Everything we learn from these experiences will serve us to continue this journey that has just begun. At the end, we will be proud to say: It has been long but worthwhile doing it. Classmates and friends: We have made it.
It went by as fast as our family always said it would. This chapter that we will never go back to. But at least the memories will live with us. Every movie, every book, and every song has to end. High school is no different. But, this is a new beginning for all of us. Today, we say thank you to our families; today, we say goodbye to our teachers; and today, we say hello to the rest of our lives. Every ending has a new beginning, so as Shakespeare says: "Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again.”
And to all future college students, may God be with you!
We are the class of 2020. Intelligent. Thoughtful. Hard-working. Determined. This is a year no one will ever forget. Some people lost their jobs and others lost their family. For us, we have reached one of the biggest milestones in our entire life: graduating high school. Maybe this is less important in the grand scheme of things, but we are still saying goodbye to our high school family. Although we’re going our separate ways, we will always hold the memories in our hearts forever. My four years here have been more than merely academic. The lacrosse team has shown me the virtues of leadership and confidence. The chorus program has given me unconventional ways to meet my best friends. And CIS has challenged me to be the best version of myself. I’ll never forget the football games, magnet field trips, SAT days, and even the cafeteria lunches. This is a time to be grateful for the good times and excited for the next big steps in our life. The world is changing and it is our time to step up to the plate. We are the future and I’m so excited to see what we do with it. Follow your dreams and you’ll never know what you can achieve. Congrats to us and thanks to all the parents, teachers, and staff that helped us along the way! Shout out to you, Mom and Dad. And always remember: If you put your mind to it, you can do it.
Students, parents, and staff. Well, we’ve made it to graduation. After all those years of late night studying, last minute cramming, and balancing school and life, we made it. Teachers, thank you for putting up with our senioritis, because that’s the real rite of passage here.
Parents, thank you for supporting us every step of the way. Although we may not say it much, we are truly grateful.
Students, these past 4 years have finally led up this day, and we should feel very proud of ourselves for this achievement. However, we should remember that this is only the beginning. Our diplomas open a remarkable range of opportunities just waiting for us to encounter them.
Job 8:7 says, “Your beginning will seem so small, since your future will flourish.”
I hope you will remember that, since we are only getting started in our extraordinary lives.
Class of 2020, we’ve all faced different obstacles during our four years at Dr. Phillips. We’ve also forged countless memories together ranging from cheering for the football team to the unmatched anxiety before an AP exam. I’ve noticed that people sometimes define us based on the memories they have of us. Some of us are defined by others as nerds, some as athletes, and a select few of us are deemed winners. The truth is, other people’s labels don’t matter unless we believe them. Ultimately, we are the ones who define ourselves as winners, losers, good, bad, nerds, or athletes. Class of 2020, we have the opportunity to define ourselves in the coming years. So, define yourself as whoever you want to be; define yourself as the best version of you because your perception of yourself is a thousand times more important and meaningful than anyone else’s version of you.
I think we all can say our senior year has been unique, but then again so is every year at DP. How many schools can say they have a farm on campus? I will never forget my agriculture project of taking care of a chicken, even though it would scratch me every time I’d pick it up. But, it’s all of us that make DP great. Each one of us has followed our own path, and we made it! Now, we’ll all take the next step in our lives, never forgetting these years at DP. Good times, bad times, funny times, thank you classmates for making it quite the experience. I wish you all the best. Go Panthers!
Social distancing. Quarantine. Six Feet Apart. Pandemic. These are pretty strange terms. It’s honestly the stuff of movies. However, it’s our grim reality right now. Dr. Phillips High School has proved itself to be an unexpected safe haven from the harsh realities. Events such as the spirit weeks, dances like homecoming and prom, Black History Month, the showcases, among others have provided each student fun memories on campus and most importantly, together. We realize now that normalcy is a fragile illusion, but our memories are strong enough to help us through difficult times and help us move forward into our futures. Life has changed, but it was going to change for us regardless as we leave high school. We are lucky enough to be given the chance to adjust as we move on to the next phase of life along with everyone else as we all return to a changed society. Whether you were a part of a magnet program like the CIS or VPA or an important club or society, Dr. Phillips is a place for everyone. We are still the class of 2020. A class with vision.
After 13 years of school, most of us are ready for today. Ready to take with us the good memories and leave the bad ones behind. But rear view mirrors exist for a reason. Without looking back, it’s not safe to say where we can go in our futures.
So while it may seem a tall order, I ask that you not only remember the spirit weeks, the school dances, and the senior skip days. Remember also the anxiety over where to sit, the nerves before your first varsity game, and the racing hearts as you open your exam booklet. Remember how you’ve grown, alongside friends and teachers, and despite our current difficult distance.
Each of our struggles has been unique. Social. Emotional. Intellectual. But what we share is the ability to look to the future with confidence. See how much we’ve overcome and know how many battles we are going to win. Look what we’ve already done.
Ana López Diaz
My name is Ana López Diaz and I am from Venezuela. It hasn’t been easy for me to get to this moment, I still can remember every obstacle, but I also remember how I overcame each one of them with God’s help.
I can now properly say to the Class of 2020 that no matter how big the challenges we deal with in life, we can overcome anything with perseverance, discipline, and more importantly, with God’s favor on our side, which I believe has helped me get control of everything in my life.
I believe that to achieve the goals we set for yourself, we can place our dreams in God’s hands and He will make everything possible for us.
To every teacher, school staff member, and parents present here today, my deepest gratitude goes to you. I want you to know that you have not only taught me theoretical knowledge, but also principles and values that I will apply for the rest of my life.
Thank you so much!
Today is a milestone. It marks the end of your four indelible years of high school. Four years of chanting “Aww DP” at football games, performing on stage under the scintillating lights, mastering skills that before, you couldn’t fathom. For me, it has meant four years of enjoying the complexities of Math and Chemistry and experiencing an adrenaline rush every time I stepped foot onto the lacrosse field. Each and every one of you have made significant accomplishments and contributions at Dr. Phillips High School, engraving your own paw print into the halls of the school. But, now, it is time to make the daring leap into your future. The future is intimidating. But it is also calling your name.
I would like to first take a moment to thank my family, teachers, coaches, and the Dr Phillips faculty and staff. Without your commitment and dedication, we would certainly not be sitting here today. To my fellow graduates, I want to congratulate you on reaching this important milestone that we have all worked so hard for over the last four years. As you know, we as a class are still navigating through an uncertain time that no other graduating class has ever had to face. Yet through adversity we can still find opportunity.
Opportunity to get out of our comfort zone.
Opportunity to learn more about ourselves.
Opportunity to help others
And finally, opportunity to reimagine our future.
We must embrace these opportunities and remain determined to overcome this together. I wish you all the best of luck and once again congratulations!
Rafael Moreno Salvatierra
The events we are living today are just little examples of what is going to happen to each one of us in the future. Life always takes dramatic turns, and most of the time they are not in our favor. However, the situation itself is not as important as one might think; what we do with it is what really matters. Do we stay on the floor without doing anything? Or instead figure out a way to get ourselves out of the issue? A way to acquire the things we desire? A way to grow as people? Bad things are always going to happen: pandemics, market crashes, recessions. But do we want to come out of them on our knees or on our feet? It is our decision."
Four years. What can you accomplish in four years? That was the question that all of us, as the Class of 2020, faced as we gingerly stepped into the waters of the vast sea of experiences that high school would offer. For some of us, we felt accomplishment as we finally mastered a new skill or instrument or became leaders in what we loved doing. For many of us, we felt achievement as we smiled from ear to ear with friends, who dug up memes that they found weeks ago just so that we could laugh together. But, I know that for ALL of us, we feel a sense of pride and wonder for how much we’ve grown over the past four years. We were timid yet bright-eyed, bushy-tailed freshmen, who looked to our mentors and older peers to help guide us in finding our niche. We were hopeful sophomores, who found our passions and interests but were looking for opportunities to do more and be more. We were stressed-out juniors, who wished for the whirlwind of assignments, tests, SATs, and ACTs to dissolve. Now, we ARE bright-eyed, bushy-tailed seniors looking to use the wisdom we’ve gained on this journey to leap ahead into our future. To the parents, friends, and faculty of the Class of 2020, I thank you for supporting us through our roughest patches and for celebrating with us as we move forward. To my friends and classmates of the Class of 2020: We are facing yet another vast ocean of opportunities and obstacles, but we will face them and cherish them together. Keep shining, Class of 2020!