Good morning Mrs. Tier, Mr. Deroba, Mr. DiMezza, Mrs. Cable, Mrs. Kane, faculty, family, friends, and the Class of 2018! Four years ago, the first class of Early College Academy students began their journey at Saint John Vianney High School. We took a chance on this program, not knowing the profound impact it would have on our high school years and the rest of our educational journey. This program not only provided us with academic opportunities, but it also created a family of nine students of which I am so proud to be a part. The nine of us supported each other during the lows of high school and created unforgettable memories, especially during our senior year. This year, we spent half our days at Brookdale Community College and then traveled to SJV for the other half. While in Brookdale, we immersed ourselves into the college life by attending college classes and joining the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Then, two weeks ago, the nine of us graduated from Brookdale and received our Associates Degree in Social Sciences. The first people I saw after receiving my degree were Mr. Deroba, Mr. DiMezza, and Mrs. Cable. I want to thank these incredible people for building the ECA from the ground up. Without them, all nine of our stories would be profoundly different.
Now, I want to shift your attention from the past to the future. We have spent the past four years preparing for this day, and now that it’s here, we can’t help but wonder what the future will hold for us. I cannot provide you with a list of steps that will guarantee that you become a doctor or find eternal happiness. I can, however, say that you will experience hardships and failures. It is what you do when you encounter those failures that will define who you are. I encourage everyone in this room to always remember your roots in times of trouble. Remember the values of knowledge, commitment, and involvement that SJV has instilled in you. Remember to keep God close to your heart, because as long as He is your rock, you will overcome any hardships. Lastly, always remember your family. All of you who are sitting in these white and gold gowns today are here because of them. There is no one else who will support, embrace, and love you like them, so embrace and love them back.
Before we part today, I want to leave you with some last words. Whatever you choose to do in life, make sure that you are passionate about it. You are selling the hours of your life on your future endeavors, so for the love of yourself, make sure that it is something that you can embrace and go home feeling proud about.
Thank you for this honor and congratulations to the Class of 2018!