As a young seventh grader, while my mom had given me a great education at home, I was a lazy student. I used to tell my mom I was “going to the bathroom” and really I just hid in the bathroom reading a book for long periods of time, several times a day to get out of chores and school. So coming to Christiana where I would get a zero if I didn’t turn in a piece of homework, and where I had a ton of homework that I had to get done, was a wake-up call to what hard work is. And it was a chance to shape who I am today. I didn’t understand the journey I was going to undertake with my classmates, who I can honestly say are like my siblings, but now looking back I understand just how important my time here actually has been. I was given the opportunity to learn how to work hard and decide who I wanted to be in a safe environment. I couldn’t just tell my tutor I was “going to the bathroom” to get out of work. I had to sit in the classes just like everybody else, and complete my homework just like everybody else. And to my amazement I did it. At first I had missing assignments and there were many tears, but even when I was begging my mom to take me out of the Academy, I knew in the depths of my heart I didn’t want that. And the real reason in seventh, eighth, ninth, and even tenth grade that I didn’t want to leave was my classmates. But in eleventh grade, when my eyes were fully opened to all my possibilities and potential, the desire to stay came from both a love of my family of friends as I called my classmates, and a true love and hunger for what I was learning.
I want to extend my thanks to the administration at CHA, and to all of the tutors I have had over the past six years, but in particular I’d like to thank a few very important tutors who I have come to deeply appreciate and love. Mr. Jenkins, Mrs. Landry, Mrs. Jones, and Mrs. Tiller. These four tutors have been there for me and helped me, encouraged me and guided me. They have taught me how to listen, and how to question, how to debate and how to learn. So thank you so much. I couldn’t have survived CHA, and I don’t think I would have been prepared for the real world, without you all.
I do also want to say a quick thank you to my parents for making me stay at CHA. I don’t know if you both realized how CHA was going to change and shape me into the young woman I am today, but I wanted you to know that being at CHA has changed and shaped me for the better.
I didn’t think I would make it for a long time. But I have made it. Alive. I am here today. I’m the cool and older senior. And now I truly understand why I was here and I really do appreciate my education and my tutors. I have learned how to work hard. To open my mind to endless possibilities. To ask questions instead of to give answers, and question answers even when they seem right. To seek truth above all else, but not forget to show love while seeking it. To be accepting of everyone and not try to force my opinion on anyone. To argue the right way, with calm logic, and an understanding of my opponents’ opinions. To stand up for my beliefs even if no one else supports me. And to laugh, to love, and to live to the fullest
And finally I would like to end with a special note to my class: guys, we made it! We’re here! Graduating! And honestly I can’t even imagine having a better class than you guys. We’ve been through a lot together, and I can say quite sincerely that I have three brothers and three sisters for life. And don’t worry I’m going to try to stay in contact even while at college in Wyoming! I can’t say goodbye to you guys. I don’t want to say goodbye. And I don’t think that we need to say goodbye. Because to me goodbye doesn’t really exist after all. There is only, till we meet again. And so guys, truly like a second family, I’m not going to say goodbye. I’m only going to say: till we meet again.