All of us at Newmark High School are so very proud the Class of 2012. Along with the inspiring speech by Julian, a fellow graduate at last week’s Graduation Ceremony, we hope you are as touched by Felicia’s moving testament to past, present, and future as all the graduates and guests were.
From Felicia … A Foundation For Life
I wanted to share a little of my story and I thought an analogy would be a good way to begin.
A house cannot stand without a foundation, structure, support beams, and hands to help build it up. Life is like a house and, like each house, takes a different path to be built up. Before coming to Newmark, I was at a boarding school. While attending my boarding school, I slowly gained the foundation for my house. Before that, even the slightest winds had my house crumbling to the ground. It was a slow process but I eventually picked up the broken pieces of my house and started to rebuild. Now I have the foundation, structure, and support system I need and I couldn’t have done it without the support and help from my family, friends, and the staff at my boarding school and Newmark.
There was a time in my life where I couldn’t even think about going to school, let alone graduating and going to college. My parents made the hard decision to send me 2 hours away to a boarding school in Connecticut. At the time, I hated that I was there but it was in fact the best decision they made. I learned to love myself and I met some of the most amazing people there who helped me along my journey; two of whom are here with us today. When I got to Newmark, my journey and growth didn’t end. With the help of Mrs. Ragno, Dr. Clemente, Dr. Peter, Ms. Allman and all the staff and friends here, I continued to work on making myself a better person. I’d like to thank my family and friends who have helped and supported me along the way. You all have stayed by my side through everything and still loved me just the same. There is no way to thank you for everything you’ve done, even if you don’t know how much you’ve done for me. I’d also like to thank my parents for making the hard decision to send me away ultimately saving my life. Without their support and love, I wouldn’t be standing here today preparing to go to the college of my dreams. My parents always told me I could do whatever I want and to never let anyone stand in my way. They taught me that if someone tells me I can’t do something, do it anyway just to prove them wrong and I give that advice to you as well.
I learned that change comes from within and only one person can make you change: yourself. As we graduate and move on with our lives, we are simply adding on to our houses. There is always room and space for change and growth. So continue adding on to your house and don’t regret anything. Even if you accidentally paint your house an ugly color or you buy the wrong furniture, you can always go back and fix it. Nothing in your house is permanent unless you want it to be and things can always be added on or changed. Be open-minded, take risks, and do whatever makes you happy. Don’t base your life decisions on someone else; even the small decisions like house color. If someone tells you “No, you can’t do it” prove them wrong. If you want to make your house larger than life, go for it, don’t hold back. I can’t guarantee that there won’t be any more storms trying to knock your house down; but I can guarantee that if you have the right support beams and helping hands, you can weather any storm that comes your way and pick up any pieces that may have fallen.