Class of 2021 - Holy Spirit Award Winner
Good evening, Father Ritche, Father Edgar, faculty, staff, family, friends, and of course, my amazing fellow graduates. Congratulations to the Class of 2021! We finally made it! You have all worked so hard to reach this incredible milestone. Your success is well deserved and your future is bright. Anyways, now that all of that cliche stuff is out of the way, remember, your parents are very proud of you. This would be the perfect time to ask them for a little extra spending money.
It is an honor to be here “in-person” to celebrate our graduating class considering these challenging times. The past few months have made me question things about my life, like... “How long can I really go without cutting my hair?” and “Can I set my alarm for 7:59 in the morning and make it to my online class in 1 minute?” What has become clear to me, is that Holy Spirit School has become my second home where I have grown in my faith, academics, and community. I value our community now more than ever. Thank you to everyone for pulling together to make online learning easy, in-person classes safe, fundraisers successful, and keeping our school spirit strong!
Today, we look to the future and also look back at our days in and outside of the classroom. The days we laughed, cried, worked and played. We remember the people who cheered us on and the people who helped us… like getting all the balls we kicked over the fence at recess.
Looking back at Pre-K, it was the perfect world for me. My classes were in the afternoon, and our days were filled with...well, not a care in the world. Kindergarten got even better. We had our own wiggle scooters on the playground, and we were making new friends, many of us still together at graduation today. Then grade school started. What an exciting time. Playing with our Kendamas, fidget spinners, Pokémon cards, and not having so much homework. Some of our greatest lessons were learned outside of the classroom, like on field trips to Gizdich Ranch, Columbia, NASA, then in Middle School the Asian Museum, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and my favorite, Science camp. Science camp was one of my most unforgettable experiences. In addition to learning about new animals and plants, it was a great bonding experience. I still remember staying up late playing cards with my cabinmates. Even after science camp, I couldn’t get the Banana Slug song out of my head! And for Halloween, it doesn’t get better than having a carnival at school. One year I tried to convince my mom we needed $50 to buy tickets…that didn’t work out. But what was even better than eating cookies and otter pops all day was showcasing our costumes at our annual parade. After school, whether you were in basketball, volleyball, flag football, boy scouts, robotics, show choir, drama, or debate, there was always an opportunity to build friendships, learn new skills and be part of a team. A big thank you to all of the teachers, parents and volunteers who made all of these programs possible.
In the classroom, we have gained a strong academic and spiritual foundation. This year, we’ve learned test-taking skills, Algebra, how to keep our Zoom cameras on… and how to do project, after project, after project. As a Catholic school, we are grateful for our Holy Spirit Church and parish members. We have grown in our faith through religious studies, weekly Mass, receiving Sacraments, and altar serving. As a volunteer in my community, I’ve learned the joy of giving back to others. Through our church program, I served dinner to homeless women, which impacted their lives in a positive way. This experience showed me that God calls on us to love one another and serve the poor. Above all, I’ve learned how to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. As Pope Francis stated, “Jesus is not a figure from the past: He continues now and always to light the way for us.”
Graduates, whether you’ve been at Holy Spirit for 10 years or 1 year, we all take away special memories, lessons and most importantly friendships. Some of us will attend the same high schools, others will take different paths, but rest assured the memories you made here are everlasting.
As we embark on our new journey to high school and beyond, I leave you with this. Stay true to yourselves, learn from your mistakes, and remember, in the wise words of Walt Disney “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Thank you everyone, and Congratulations again Class of 2021!