The same graduation songs, same routines, same set up — and they happen year after year after year. Some might call the graduation ceremony repetitive. Others might call it tradition, just another day, another thing you have to go through.
But today is not just any other day.
Today, every moment is a precious one. Each step is time for reflection. The songs that played over and over again seem suddenly too short. As the “Pomp and Circumstance” began playing, I couldn’t help but think about the future: “What now?” “What’s next?” and above all, “Am I ready?” These are questions that we have spent the past four years trying to prepare for, and many of us still don’t have a clue about the answer to some of those questions.
However, if there’s anything that I’ve learned at Westwood, it’s that when you come face-to-face with those moments of uncertainty, it’s not where you go that matters but where you stopped by along the way. This is the spirit of Warrior pride. This is what defines a Westwood Warrior: That we proudly move forward with each step of the path and we finish knowing that we tried our best.
I’ll never forget some of those moments. The moment of feeling crushed when my dream colleges didn’t accept me, but I didn’t let it define me. The moments of long nights where the workload seemed to go on forever, but I didn’t let it wear me down. The moment of being a Westwood Warrior, and the opportunities that have come from it.
Throughout the year, we take time to celebrate the achievements of students and to congratulate those who go above and beyond. As a school, it’s important for us to recognize Warrior pride. We see this in ourselves, in our community and in our family. Especially tonight, we are here to champion the past four years of memories and experiences. But I hope that as you reflect on the ups and downs of high school, that you not only take pride in your achievements, but also have a little humility and gratitude. Be grateful, because no matter who you are, no one made it all by themselves.
First, say thank you to your family, your friends, and loved ones for making you the person you are today. My family is my support and my foundation. My friends make coming to school worthwhile, even on Monday mornings. Without these precious people in my life, I would not have had to the strength to be here today.
Next, take time to appreciate all the little things in life — things you would otherwise take for granted. You’ll never be able to relive high school again. At least for me, I’ll miss the yellow school bus, the field trips, and sack lunches. I’ll miss celebration time and the daily routine of high school. When we take time to recognize everything we’re grateful for, it’s difficult to imagine the past few years without these simple gifts.
Last, and most importantly, be grateful that you are a Westwood Warrior. For many of you, Westwood is your second home. It is your safe place, your community of friends. Remember always that you were proud to be a Warrior. Give thanks to all your teachers and mentors, shake their hands, give them a hug, recognize that it is because of them that there is a sense of community created at Westwood. Tonight, as you reflect on what brought you here today, take pride in what you have accomplished, but also take time to say thank you to those who supported you. Be grateful for the ones you love, for all the blessings you can possibly count, and for your home away from home, Westwood High School. bove all, never, ever forget the things you are grateful for. Thank you.