One of the hardest things I ever had to endure in life was losing my mother. She was the one person in my life that I knew in my very core loved and cared deeply and genuinely about me. She had hopes for my future--and I had hopes for my future with her. But that all changed when I was in fifth grade -- she got sick and was diagnosed with cancer. I knew she was sick, but I didn’t realize how sick she was until it was too late. My mom didn’t make it to see me finish my sixth grade year.
After my mom passed, I didn’t see much point in continuing my education. So while I was still technically in school, I didn’t attend much and didn’t really see much point in learning anything. Finally at the end of my tenth grade year, I just dropped out completely, and didn’t earn any credits for that last trimester of school. I fumbled through life for a year before I began to realize that all my friends were going to graduate this year. I was working part time at the skating rink, and earning some good money, but I started to miss school and I began to feel left out. I was a bit jealous that my friends were about to graduate and I was still just working and floundering through life.
So I had a decision to make. I could continue what I was doing with no change in sight, or I could re-enroll in school and work my butt off to earn my diploma. I really was determined at this point that I was going to do whatever it took to earn my diploma the same year that my peers were earning theirs.
So I started my senior year at Page Academy with only 12.5 credits. That was only half way to what I needed to graduate. Not many people believed I could do it, in one year, but I knew that I could do whatever I set my mind to do, and nothing would stand in my way. So I enrolled in a full schedule of classes and lots of online classes.
I was happy to be in school. It just felt right.
The atmosphere at Page Academy is one of caring. I was encouraged almost every step of the way by my teachers and friends. I loved all my teachers but I think the two that made the biggest difference in my experience here were Mrs. Steele and Mrs. Purcell. They didn’t just sit back and offer a take-it or leave it education. They were invested in my success. They didn’t always say it, but I could just feel it. I knew that they wanted me to succeed.
Working hard, I finished all that the state of Oklahoma requires for graduation, and I stand here before you today, proving that a dream, determination, and willingness to put in the hard work will pay off. Today, I have fully earned by high school diploma. I know my teachers and friends are proud of me and I know that my mom would also be very proud of me and what I have accomplished.
My dream is to become a meteorologist. I have always been interested in the weather and just science in general. I have applied to different colleges and expect that I will hear back from them. I have learned that when you have a dream, nothing can stand in your way. Just like graduating from high school, I will see this dream come to pass too.
I would like to say to all my friends and fellow students: Stay the course. Don’t fall back into your old ways--you can do better and you can be better. Don’t let your old self stand in the way of your new self.
Set your mind on success and I’ll meet you in the winner’s circle.