One of San Diego Unified's top one percent graduates, here is the speech given by Andrea Flores of Pt. Loma High at the Salute to Excellence event on May 20. Andrea is graduating Monday, June 15.
Hello and good afternoon as well! My name is Andrea Flores, and I am a senior at Point Loma High School. It is truly an honor to be here, surrounded by the brightest and most dedicated students of this year’s graduating class.
We all have our personal stories describing how we managed to arrive at this exact moment, only days away from graduating and venturing into the unknown. Some of us had relatively easy journeys these past twelve years, and others of us had to struggle greatly.
My personal story began twelve years ago, in a kindergarten classroom. My teacher pointed at a chair and said, “Can you please sit down, Andrea?” All I could do in return was stare blankly. Actually it was more of a blank stare followed by hysterical crying, but that is not the point. I had to overcome a language barrier at the age of five. Ever since that terrifying first day of school, I have stumbled upon many challenges and, quite frankly, I have fallen flat on my face several times. But I have always picked myself up and kept moving forward. Always. Every time I have succeeded, I have benefited greatly; I am now a bilingual student who will be attending UCLA in the fall to pursue her dreams of researching medicine. Could I ask for anything more? By this I mean anything more than the money that will get me through the next several years!
Today is not simply about me, it is about all of us. Have we not all climbed mountains to arrive here? We have all gone to classes, done the work, studied rigorously, but most importantly, we have never lost sight of our aspirations and have never given up hope. We are approaching the beginning of what adults who enjoy seeing flashes of terror in our eyes refer to as “the real world.” In reality, we are continuing the life we have already started, and, because we have built a solid foundation for our future, we are not going to shatter and break.
I’d like to thank my parents right now for teaching me that your personal background does not determine the type of lifestyle you will lead. They completely epitomize this concept. I have been proud of them all my life, and it is time for them to be proud of me.
Now, remember, we are too close to success to fall back now. We are our own future, after all, so let us make it a bright one!
Thank you and I wish you the best of luck!