Thirteen years ago I stepped foot into the doors of Hemingford Public Schools for the first time. Thirteen years ago I met my best friend. Thirteen years ago I decided that this is where I wanted to be one day. Standing here in front of you being able to look at the community that helped raise me and say “Guess what, I did it. Thank you.” Today, I am sad because I didn’t get all of the time I wanted in the halls of the high school. I am sad because I have to stay at least 6 feet away from my best friends. But today here I am, standing in front of you all saying “Guess what, I did it. Thank you.”
High school was more than just a place where I sat and learned for eight hours a day. It was the place where I met the girls that became family. I learned how to read and write, but I also learned how to speak up for myself and others. Many nights, the gym or the library was my second home. From 6:30 in the morning to 8 at night I got to be surrounded by friends and family, laughing, smiling, and learning, so thank you Hemingford High for being there. Thank you to the amazing staff that pushed me to be the best version of myself and made sure I never lost sight of my goals. To the amazing staff and administration, you have been good to me. It will be hard to find this many people that will give me the encouragement and love you have given to me but hey, all the more reason to visit right.
To the village of Hemingford, you have all been a part of my life in some way. You let me babysit your kids, told me good luck or congratulations more times than I can count, or gave me advice I didn’t know I needed. Thank you, all of you, for making this village my home.
To the friends that turned into family, and trust me you know who you are. Thank you for helping me to find the side of myself that doesn’t feel the need to study 24 hours a day. You provided me with endless sleepovers, nights in the hot tub, and advice. I am not excited to leave you but I cannot wait to see what you all accomplish. I know you will do great things.
To my family, oh where to begin. Kayla, you gave me the sisterly advice I never wanted but needed. You taught me that it’s ok that Danea is your favorite because that doesn’t mean you forgot about me. I will call on you many times in the future, but I promise it will never be for cooking advice. Devan, you were the best older brother I could have asked for. You showed me how to follow my dreams, and not care what others think. You were always yourself no matter what, and that isn’t easy. You taught me how to be strong. Danea, you have been my best friend for the past seventeen years. No matter how many times you cut my hair or blamed the drawings on the walls on me, I couldn’t be mad for more than an hour. You have come to my side when no one else was there. I used to find it annoying when you wanted to do everything I did until I grew up and realized I was going to miss you when you were no longer following me around like a puppy dog. I love all three of you so much. Now for the people who have had to spend a full 18 years with me. Trust me that had to have been difficult. I’ve known me for 18 years and I wonder how they do it. No matter how many fits I threw or rules I broke, you always showed me your love. You two are my biggest role models mom and dad, and I don’t know how I am going to live without you. Expect a lot of phone calls is all I can say.
Class of 2020, I know this year is not what we wanted it to be. We did not leave for spring break expecting that to be the last classes we would ever take at Hemingford. It may not have been perfect, but here we all are. Celebrating, because guess what, we did it.