This school doesn’t have two weeks of Spring Break like Columbus academy does, it doesn’t have the open lunches that gahanna does, the coffee shop hours are restricted and the people here are real sticklers about lanyards. However. What our school lacks (mind you, it doesn’t lack much) is made up for by filling our wide campus with patient bus drivers, kind custodians, influential administration, and of course, the energetic and empathetic teachers who come to work everyday with hopes of molding us into high achieving citizens. Today’s graduation is as much a celebration for the students as it for our teachers. Teachers, you guys did it! You took in the bright eyed class of 2019 our freshman year, whipped us up, knocked us down a couple times, taught us to get back up and keep trying, and now here we are.
I’m a “lifer” at New Albany, which is a term we use to describe someone who has been in the district since Kindergarten, and I am proud to say that every single year, without fail, I have been deeply and positively influenced by my teachers. I could go through each and every teacher I have ever had and explain to everybody the bond that was created through elementary school eagle talons, recess, AR points, and advisory class. I could describe the first teacher to ever have me swoon over a book, which later sparked my love of reading. Or I could shout out my 7th grade math teacher for doing the impossible: making a kid love factoring, because yes, I now think that factoring is fun! I could recite the introduction to the Odyssey and make my humanities teachers proud. It starts “Sing to me of the man muse…” which is fitting for my speech today. A speech tailored for our staff. Whether my peers realize it or not, and whether you all have realized it, you are our muses. We have emulated you, looked up to you, and absorbed everything you taught us during our time together.
Just to put into perspective how important you all really are, you are the ones we have spent the last twelve years with. You fill up our conversations at the lunch table, you’ve become the subject of our harmless jokes, in some cases, you’re the person we try to sneak by during Friday lunch so that we can cut in the Jetts pizza line, or you’re the administrator we hid from as juniors when we tried to park in the visitors lot instead of the church lot, or maybe you’re the teacher who planned a test on senior skip day. I’m not trying to describe the villains of the school, rather I want you all to see that you have sparked a variety of emotions from us, you have given us frustration, stress, relief, strength, and laughter. These feelings and memories are a gift from our staff that will be something that the class of 2019 will share forever.
I recently turned 18. I’m the youngest of four kids, and when my parents wished me a happy birthday, I congratulated them on successfully raising 4 children.They got their 4 kids to 18. I told them their marathon was over, they crossed the finish line. But my mom responded, “Even though you’re 18 now, doesn’t mean we are finished parenting, we’ve still got a long way to go.” So students and teachers, I would like to leave my final day of being a student at New Albany High School with this: My peers, our marathon is far from done, we have countless more years ahead of us to learn and grow, but without our teachers- our loudest cheerleaders, our greatest challengers, and our everlasting impactors-we could not have made it this far. Teachers, thank you for giving us the tools we need in life, we hope we can make you proud.
Valentina will attend The Ohio State Univeristy in the fall majoring in business.