Graduation Speeches 2022


Trice Megginson

Senior Emma Santos delivers a great speech about the life lessons she’s learned from family cooking tips.

Shawn Shiek

Good morning family, friends, dignitaries, faculty, and most importantly, the senior class of 2022. My name is Shawn Shiek, and it is my absolute honor to be up here speaking to all of you on this monumental day as your class president. Don’t clap. It basically means  I won a popularity contest by 13 votes. Half of you don’t want me up here. 

Before I begin, I’d like us all to give a round of applause to all of the amazing teachers, advisors, coaches, and mentors that got us all here. Without their support and guidance, I don’t know where we’d be. And also one last round of applause for our wonderful custodial staff that have to clean up after all of us have had our Taylor Swift moment. 

Today we gather in this beautiful stadium one last time to celebrate our achievements. We made it to graduation. Whether you flew, walked, or crawled through these last 4 years, we are all here wearing the same cap and gown and celebrating the same achievement of meeting the bare minimum requirement to be a functioning member of today’s society. 

That is not to down-play the significance of this day.  I see it as a challenge for all of us to continue to strive for excellence. Let this graduation be a stepping stone into a bright future filled with more graduations, more cords, and more hoods. 

Let me just remind us all that times looked a lot different a few years ago. It feels as if it was yesterday I was walking home with my friend Ahmad after a signature AP review session with Mr. Bailey when we got word that the world was to shut down for a few weeks. So what, a few weeks off and then finish out the rest of sophomore year strong, no questions asked?

 Oh, how wrong we were. 

This pandemic has brought an insurmountable amount of pain to us as a society and as a graduating class. We missed out on some of the highlights of our junior year. We had to consistently adapt and overcome the new obstacles that came with living and learning during a pandemic.

Online classes were quite a struggle, yet these same classes often forced the utmost creativity and tenacity out of us. Setting alarms in 10 minute increments to stay awake, missing classes because of “wifi issues”, and awkward unmuting moments were staples of online learning. 

Despite how much sitting on zoom for 6 hours a day chipped away at our spirits, we weathered the storm and got the job done. But let’s be honest, that’s not the worst thing EHS has put us through. I’m talking about TikTok challenges turning into vandalism, and everyone missing soap and paper towels in the bathroom.  (You know who you are.) Ruthless. 

Moving past all of our pandemic woes, we still had an amazing senior year. I had the pleasure of being a member of both the marching band and the soccer team, and I could not be prouder of our school spirit and the camaraderie we have. 

The bonds we have all built with our teammates on and off the fields, classrooms, and stages, are something I hope all of us can continue to cherish for many years to come. 

The bus rides home after a big win, the practices after a tough loss, and the feeling of getting back in shape after the off season is something I’ll never forget. Special thanks to the coaches that put up with all of the shenanigans that come with coaching angsty high schoolers, and especially our athletic director Ms. Turner for listening to all of those late bus phone calls. We appreciate you more than you can imagine. 

I definitely have to give a special shout-out to the band program for the amazing year we had despite our run-ins with Covid and other frustrations.  Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Sachetta have fought tooth and nail for all 22 of us here and that’s also not to mention the immense amount of support that came from Senator Sal DiDomenico and our band families. 

The “triple crown” happened this year. We were able to go to Hawaii, Dayton, and Washington D.C. That is unheard of. I can guarantee you we’ve aged Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Sachetta by roughly 5 years this past year, but I hope they got some enjoyment out of all of it. 

I can not thank all of our wonderful staff enough for making all of our senior years so memorable. 

As some of you may be catching on to this now: this speech is merely a long thank you list. “He’s going to Princeton, he must have something profound to say.” I can not offer any of you any more life advice than you could probably give yourself. But here is just some food for thought. 

For many of us, this graduation is far larger than ourselves. Growing up to honor the sacrifices of immigrant parents is incredibly difficult. Many of you, including myself, are first generation students getting ready to navigate through college even though getting there once felt impossible. 

This graduation is the fruit of our families’ sacrifices. All of those people that made massive sacrifices for you to succeed all get to see you walk across this beautiful stage today.

To my own parents, thank you for taking that one way flight from Pakistan to America. I could never imagine how difficult it must have been to leave everything behind to start a new life but I hope it was worth it to see Dad rock that Princeton hat. 

Before I wrap things up here and let the memories roll in, I have one final request of the senior class: be present today. Live in this moment. It’s finally here after 120 credits and a pandemic. Soak this all in. The real world woes set in tomorrow roughly around 9 A.M.  Take all of those pictures, make all those cringy TikToks. 

It’s your graduation.  Own it. And with that, I leave you with a quote from the great Roman poet Virgil,  “Fortune sides with him who dares”. To the class of 2022 it was a pleasure being your senior class president.  Shiekster out.

Breetika Maharjan

Thank you, Mr. Naumann!  Good morning to our distinguished guests, and to the families, teachers, friends, and all the supporters of the graduating class of 2022. 

Three days ago, I approached Mr. Naumann’s office, frantic and anxious, having no idea what to say to you all today. Mr. Naumann gave me his wise words of advice, which were, “Be kind, be courteous, don’t hang around at Walgreens” – no wait, that was after. Seriously, what he really said was, “Write from the heart.” 

I am here now, hoping to give honor to those words. 

As I look into the crowd of people today, we see the people we’ve been with for some time now. Some we know from the playgrounds of kindergarten, others from our eighth-grade classrooms, some we pass by in the halls of the high school. Maybe we even see a few people we’ve never seen before. 

We’ve all taken different paths to get us here today, and I believe that there is more that connects us than divides us. We are all from Everett, where diversity is our strong suit. It is what defines who we are. It creates our community. We embrace many cultures as we walk through Main Street with the smells of the Brazilian pastels, Nepalese momos, Salvadoran pupusas, and so much more rich food that I’m already getting hungry just thinking about it. 

Many of us have the good fortune of speaking more than one language in our homes. 

We all come from humble beginnings one way or another.  Many of us have had to help our parents translate medical forms for school.  Or called someone on behalf of our parents because our “American” accent would be easier to understand.  Many of us have had to take on an extra job to help support our families while also juggling homework and the stresses of high school. Many of us take care of our younger siblings so our parents could go to work, giving us the added responsibility of being a teenage parent.  

All of us sitting here today have been made extraordinarily stronger by the sacrifices we’ve made to get to this point.

We all come from humble beginnings, whether it be from our stories or the generations before us. My father, for example, grew up in the farmlands of Nepal. He sold crops and grain to earn enough money for clothes, food, and shelter for his family. 

Like many of you, my mom and dad gave up their comforts and everything known to them back at home to come to a country they were barely familiar with. They brought their three-year-old daughter, hoping that her future would be bigger and brighter than their own. They realized the value of education and the opportunities in the United States, and they worked day in and day out to help their little girl achieve the dreams that they’ve never gotten to have themselves. 

Every day, like many of us, I strive to make the sacrifices my parents made for me and my little brother mean something.  As we gather here today, we each have the necessary tools to prepare for what is yet to come. We each have the power to seek any opportunity that comes our way. 

I remember March 12, 2020, the day that everything in our world changed.  I remember hearing the bizarre news of this airborne virus spreading rapidly throughout the world, but mainly I was shocked with the fact that we had a month-long break from school. 

The first few weeks of quarantine will always be a blissful memory. The world was in a panic, and then there were people learning how to make bread, coming up with new TikTok dances to popular songs, and binge watching shows on Netflix until Netflix itself has to tell you to take a breather. 

These shared experiences show that we are the class of resilience, perseverance, and hope. Despite the uncertainty looming over our heads for the past years, we’ve been able to overcome every insane obstacle that came our way. But we were not able to jump over these tribulations alone. 

Personally, I want to thank my friends for keeping me sane and having those lunch zoom calls during virtual learning where we would play the popular game Among Us. I want to thank my mom for making sure I always had something to eat when I was going from Zoom call to Zoom call, neglecting how much time had gone by with me staring blankly at a screen. 

I want to thank the Everett Crimson Tide Marching Band for being one of my second homes for the past six years of my life.  Even a global pandemic could not stop the band getting back together. 

I also want to take a moment to acknowledge the efforts of the wonderful teachers and staff who have helped me and many of us throughout our academic journeys. Not only were they able to transition from an entire year of online learning, they’ve welcomed students with open arms to a post-virtual learning world, helping with the social and emotional toll it has taken on many students. 

 There are so many more people that I would like to thank, but that would drag this ceremony past lunch time. 

Fellow graduates, our humble beginnings are what makes us stand out in this unsteady world. Our experiences in Everett will continue to resonate with us as we each venture off into different paths. We all have the tools we need to start the next chapter of our lives. Do not underestimate the power we have to make a difference. The power we hold when we’re united together can bring waves of change. 

We are all ready to leave our mark in the world. I am honored to be in the presence of such a remarkable class of graduates. I am excited for what the future holds for each and every one of us. 

There are many problems in the world, we know. But the ones who can find the answers are sitting here today. N. R. Walker wisely said in one of their novels, “Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.” Congratulations to the class of 2022! Our best is yet to come!

Jackelyne Abranches

Welcome to our faculty, administration, members of the School Committee, honored guests, families, friends, and most of all to my fellow members of the class of 2022. 

My name is Jackelyne Abranches, and I have the privilege to speak with you today as a representative of our senior class. I would like to begin by taking a moment to express my gratitude for so many people who are here today.  To our families and communities for your support, to our teachers and staff for your guidance, to the health department for helping maintain our safety throughout this pandemic, and our lunch staff and custodians who provide for almost 2400 students and staff.  Thank you to all of you for everything you have done for myself and my classmates throughout our time in Everett Public Schools.

The constant disruptions, transitions, shut-downs, re-openings, and all the uncertainty of the last two-plus years has been difficult for all of us, but together we have made it through.

I’ve lived in Everett my whole life, and attended Everett schools since first grade at the Whittier School.  I have gotten to experience some wonderful moments in those years. I can say with certainty that I am here today because of the influence of many strong leaders and mentors in our community. I want to give a special thank you to Ms. Nicole Capra for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of my class. Her support has cultivated a strong group of young adults in Everett. I also have to recognize the strongest woman in my life, my mother Lucy. My mother has instilled in me the importance of education and learning.  Because of this, I have been given the opportunity to be the first person in my family to go to college. So many people in our world do not get that advantage, so I want to remind us all that our graduation is a great privilege we have earned. Obrigada mãe. Te amo 

I would also like us all to give a round of applause for our class of 2022. 

The class of ’22 has gone through so much change and overcome so many challenges. I am proud of all we have done, both individually and together. We paved the way for elevation in Everett.  We are the first class to experience the full Academy model, which provided so many of us with valuable skills for our futures. We have been a hard-working class.  Student-athletes from our class have been awarded over two million dollars in athletic scholarships to college.  So many others received over $100,000 recently on Scholarship Night.  Many others are going into the workforce or the military.    Our graduates have earned many great opportunities for our future.

As they say, it takes a village to achieve these things, and Everett is that village. We overcame the complications of getting an education during a time riddled with a pandemic. But our class shouldn’t solely be remembered for being the “COVID class.”  We are so much more than that.    We are the hope for our future. Through all these challenges, we’ve learned to be a resilient, courageous and driven group of young adults.  And now we will lead our own lives out in the world. 

At the start of the year, my yearbook class was asked to describe Everett High in one word.  Our class came up with words like community, strength, survivors, intelligence, and diversity.  But one word that came up over and over was: spirit. Not only are we full of school spirit, but our spirits are also fueled by a passion to have our generation be the one that makes the world a better place.      All the lessons we have learned, all the relationships we’ve created along the way, and all the memories we’ve had in this city have engraved a piece of Everett in each and every one of us,  so that we may carry a little bit of Everett wherever we go. 

Whether that be across oceans, or the next street over, wherever you go may you remember all that Everett has taught you. And Whatever you may do with your life, may you do it to your heart’s content. According to the legendary Maya Angelou herself, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, liking how you do it.” The past 12 years has prepared us for a lifetime ahead. What you decide for the next part of your journey is up to you. But along the way, may you remember to always put yourself first. Make sure you are happy and content with what you are doing. We can only do so by enjoying every little moment in the present and having hope for the future . 

To all of you for being a part of our lives and helping shape the class of 2022, thank you and Roll tide!

Emma Santos

Welcome graduates, faculty, parents and families.

I first want to thank all of our teachers, our guidance counselors, our deans, Mr. Naumann and Dr. Tringali, our superintendent Ms. Tahiliani and administration, and all of the dignitaries here today.  

I would especially like to thank our amazing office administrative assistants, custodians, and cafeteria staff, without whom the school would undoubtedly crash and burn. 

I would also like to thank my mom, my dad, and my grandmother, for their constant unwavering support these last four years.  

And I’d especially like to thank my grandfather.  While I’m sad he could not see me here today, I wouldn’t be here without his love and encouragement.

One thing that high school students often complain about after they graduate is that they didn’t learn any “real-life” skills. Sure, we never learned how to do taxes, but at least we learned the important things, like that the Battle of Yorktown was in seventeen seventy…seventeen eighty…was it sixteen seventy…?  Well, we learned most things.

Anyways, to make up for that, I thought I’d share with you some wisdom on one valuable life skill that my family has taught me throughout the years.  Hopefully you can take some of the lessons that I’ve learned from it and apply them to your own life as we step out into the world.

Today, I’m going to share some advice on how to cook.

The first piece of wisdom I’d like to share with you all, which is courtesy of my fabulous grandmother, is that a few eggshells in your batter is totally fine.

As we go through life, you are inevitably going to end up with eggshells in your batter.  If you are clumsy and forgetful, like me, you are probably going to have a lot of eggshells.  However, if you throw the whole thing out, you’re going to waste a lot of really good batter just because of a couple of stray eggshells.  

As we trek through life, no matter how hard we try to do everything perfectly, we’re going to make a lot of mistakes.  Along with that, a lot of things are going to go wrong, even things that are 100% not our fault.  

As people, we have a tendency to focus on the negatives.  But life is a beautiful thing.  And unlike cake batter, we don’t get to remake it if it goes bad.  So as we go forward in this world and make all the mistakes and encounter all the obstacles, don’t forget to take a step back and look at life as a whole.  A cake with a few eggshells can still be a good cake.  And a life with a few bumps in the road can still be an amazing life.  

So, my fellow graduates, as we go through life, remember to appreciate every cake—and every moment—to the fullest extent of its beauty, even the crunchy bits.

The second piece of wisdom I’ve learned is from my mom, and it is that recipes are merely a suggestion, to be heeded with much caution.

Life is so often reduced to a book of formulas.  Start with one college degree, add a cup of day and night grind, half a cup of working your way up the corporate ladder, a teaspoon of mind-numbing conformity, a pinch of palm-greasing, bake at 450 for 15 minutes and congratulations, you’ve made a cookie-cutter picture of success!  It’s got a briefcase and everything.  

Now that formula may work for some people, and I don’t mean to put down those for whom it does.  But if you pick a recipe for your life when you’re young and follow it to a “T”, there’s a chance you’ll find out later that it turned out pretty bland.  Sometimes you have to add a few extra ingredients here and there to make a recipe that tastes best to you.  

Adding extra spice to your life could be something as simple as dyeing your hair blue or painting your room with stripes instead of solid; or it could be something huge like changing your entire career trajectory.  Whatever happens in life, we should never feel the need to confine ourselves to one path if our happiness may lie outside of it.

Having a recipe for life can be a great place to start, but life is a chance to experiment and create our own unique recipes along the way.  And, quite frankly, if everyone followed the same recipe for their life, this world would have no flavor at all.

The third piece of wisdom I’ve learned is that sometimes things get burnt.

It’s an unfortunate but inevitable part of cooking.  The most important thing I’ve learned, though, is that nothing will become unburnt by leaving it in the pan with the heat on and allowing it to reduce to ashes.  

Sometimes, as long as you catch it in time, your burnt food will be only slightly burnt  and still very delicious.  And other times, the best way to save a dish that has gone south is to throw it out and start over.

We’re going to encounter a lot of problems throughout our lives, and while not all of them will be fixable, nearly all of them will be manageable.  The most important step in any problem is to take that first action and turn off the heat.  

As long as we are willing to take small steps to tackle problems when they arise, we’ll be able to handle anything that hits us.  Many of us will become future leaders and problem solvers.  And the world is burning…metaphorically, but in some cases also quite literally.  It will be our responsibility not to let it burn.  

So from this day forward, let us be brave enough to turn off the heat and begin tackling the world’s problems one step at a time.

The last piece of wisdom I’ve learned about cooking I learned from my grandfather, and it’s that what you make doesn’t actually matter unless you are sharing it with other people.

I honestly don’t remember much from my time here at EHS.  What I do remember are the moments that were spent with my best friends: singing karaoke in the back of the band bus, after-school Dunkin’ Donuts runs in 20 degree weather while slipping and falling on ice, playing Among Us on Zoom during quarantine in our pajamas (perhaps not our finest hours).  

One of the mistakes I first made going into high school was that I thought either I had to be comfortable alone, or I had to dilute who I was in order to fit in.  But I never realized how lonely that was until I found friends who I could be completely and unrestrainedly myself around.

Even if you’ve been zoned out for the entirety of this speech, which I totally understand, please zone back in for just a second, because this is one piece of advice that I cannot stress enough.  Find people who love and accept you for who you are, and when you find them, don’t let them go.

If you’ve found those friends here at Everett High School, make sure to stay in touch as we all go about our separate futures.  And if you haven’t found those friends quite yet, don’t worry.  There are 7.8 billion people in the world and they are all so incredibly different.  We’re all going to find our people.

I hope you can take some of my advice on learning how to cook.  I expect you all will become “master chefs” now.  

Congratulations Class of 2022.  I’m so, so proud of us, and every one of us should be extremely proud of ourselves.  May the rest of our lives be nothing short of spectacular.

Thank you.