Esparza speaks at LC graduation: 'You have to have a good heart, and a strong mind to make it'
"Adulthood is right through those doors, and we'll finally be able to grow into the person we wanted our whole school career. "
The following is the prepared text of a speech Roxanna Esparza gave during the Learning Center graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
I want to start by thanking Mr. Brands and Mrs. Wahl for allowing me to speak today. It really is a pleasure to be up here. And thank you to the families, friends, and staff that are joining this ceremony congratulating the class of 2022.
Firstly, I find it appropriate to state that I do not stand up here because I've received the highest grades, have held perfect attendance, nor have been the most involved in school. Merely I was a student, now standing up here as a graduate, amongst all of you.
Certainly expectations have been held for all of us. Whether that has been at school, or by friends, from jobs, and even family. Surely you feel a lot of relief being here, whether it was easy, or hard.
My first question for my fellow graduates, is did you really look at yourself in the mirror today? I mean, did you notice anything different?
We all know people will ask us how it feels to be out, to graduate. Adulthood is right through those doors, and we'll finally be able to grow into the person we wanted our whole school career.
So, do you? Does anything feel different?
Personally, I don't know. I've circled and wandered through my head and thought about what I wanted for me, for my future, and now I'm graduating with no answers to my questions.
Honestly, I was scared to leave something that was so stable in my daily life as a teenager. It's amazing to think about the future, but it's something that is frightening.
But I've learned to be okay with that.
The ALC really brought comfort to those fears, and I genuinely mean it. I struggled a lot with finding my way through a brick and mortar school after so many years of online school.
I didn't realize how fortunate I was to be here until I realized I would be leaving soon.
Truthfully, our world can be a hard place, and you have to have a good heart, and a strong mind to make it anywhere. And failing is so hard on some of us, and it's hard to get up, it's hard to give 100% all the time. But when you have people that are willing to help you, that reach out to you, that do their best despite whatever is going on in their personal life, it says something.
It says a lot.
So I want to thank Mrs. Duarte for her undivided attention, Mr. Bau for rejuvenating my love of history, Mr. Smith for helping me navigate through the maze of math, Mrs. Harder for making me feel welcomed, and Mrs. Henkels for giving me space to branch out my creativity without judgment. Also I cannot forget to mention all the paras that helped a lot of us graduate today.
Mrs. Wahl is also a notable mention. I want to thank you for keeping me on track. You are a busy person I'm sure, and I know you made all of us feel like we can keep going.
Mr. Brands, I hope you know that our lack of communication is a good thing for me as that means I didn't get into trouble. I cannot imagine how difficult your job can get. So thank you, I hope this year treated you well.
And that is what's so beautiful about the ALC, everyone has that classroom, that teacher, para, etc. It's so unique, and welcoming, that you can't find yourself lost here.
The teachers I mentioned are just the ones I had this quarter. If I could go on and on about all the amazing experiences I had, I could never stop talking.
I just really hope you all feel appreciated, not just today, but everyday. Because a lot of us are quiet about it, but that doesn't mean that we don't see how much you all try.
Also I want to thank my family for being so supportive in my life, despite the many obstacles. You guys are my everything, my inspiration to be something. I cannot be more thankful to have such intelligent people like all of you to guide me through life.
So I'll ask one more question: when you hold your diploma today, shake hands, hug your family and laugh with your friends, think about what this day means to you. What do you want it to mean? What will it do for you?
Time flies, and it's important to remember that you were the one who sat in that classroom, stayed after school, talked with teachers and counselors.
It's your time that sits with you today, and I believe that's something you really need to recognize.
Because it's so easy to wrap yourself in now, that you forget about time, forget about where you were, and how you ended up here. Keep those memories and experiences close to you.
Look at yourself in the mirror tonight, and be proud of that person.
Thank you, and congratulations to the class of 2022.