Column: 'It's the start of something new'

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By Theodora Oputa, District 518

Editor's note: WHS graduating senior Theodora Oputa delivered this speech at commencement exercises May 25.

Hello everyone, my name is Theodora Oputa and on behalf of the class of 2018, I would like to welcome and thank everyone here today. I know we are all in a hurry to take pictures and congratulate our friends and family, so I will try and make this as quick as possible.

I remember the first day of freshman year of high school. All the nerves, the excitement, and even the fear. It is kind of ironic that those are the exact emotions we are feeling today on our last day. Most of us, when asked how we feel about graduating, say "Thank God," but when pressed to answer the question to the fullest extent, some of us feel a tinge of sadness that we are leaving something comfortable. But we are excited for something new. Oscar Martinez says that graduating is a weird concept to wrap his head around. Elham Musa says she feels as though a great weight has been lifted off her shoulders. Kyle Jensen simply feels great, and Kristy Workman is "ready for it." It is insane to think about how quickly these last four years have flown by.

Sometimes I look at one of my classmates and I still see them as we were as freshmen. As comforting as those images are, however, it is time to embrace the notion that we are all growing up now. It is time to come to terms with the fact that our glorious days of innocence are behind us. If I am being completely honest, that is a very scary thought. But trust me when I say that there is no need to be alarmed, because the way I see it, this is just a new beginning. Yes, it is the end of our high school career, but as Troy and Gabriella said in “High School Musical,” "it's the start of something new."

Today is the day that everything changes. Today is the day that we go into the world. The big questions on our minds right now is: What now? What happens after high school? What are we going to do now that we do not have to wake up early everyday and come to school? For some of us the answer is to attend college and pursue careers in engineering, medicine, cosmetology, you name it. Others have chosen to serve our country in the military, while some of us are going straight to work or just simply taking time off to find themselves. Whatever you are choosing to do after high school, I hope and pray that you are successful.

I would honestly like to congratulate everyone here today for their achievements in high school. The fact that you are here today is an enormous accomplishment that should not go unnoticed. The level of success we will all attain after high school is now solely dependent on the amount of effort we are willing to put in. From this day forward, we can no longer rely on our teachers to constantly support us. Our parents will still be there, but it is time that we start taking responsibility for our actions. As we enter the real world, we must all keep in mind that our actions dictate how others will react to us, and we choose how we are seen in this world. I expect, however, that we will all be successful in every area of our lives because if we can pass high school, the sky is the limit.

On behalf of the class of 2018, I would like to thank all of our parents and guardians for ushering us through this journey and always being there for us. I would also like thank our teachers and all staff of Worthington High School for always pushing us to be the best person we could be, both academically and outside of school. Finally, I would just like to say that it has been a great four years with each and every one of you, and I hope that you go into this world with optimism and I wish everyone a successful future.