GDPST Updates June 10, 2022
Graduations and Promotions
"Take pride in how far you've come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don't forget to enjoy the journey." - Michael Josephson
We are officially ending the 2021-22 school year with a celebration of our graduates and promoted middle school students. Green Dot Public Schools TN is honored to have served as the academic, social and growth pathways for students who are now on their way to college, leadership and life. As college, the military or the world of work greets each of you, may your time at GDPST make you feel prepared to meet every opportunity with an open mind and open arms. We celebrate your achievement, wishing you well as you take the next step to adulthood.
As we applaud students for achieving the final academic goal of high school, graduation, GDPST wants to recognize those scholars who reached the pinnacle of achievement as the valedictorian and salutatorian of each class. Please follow the links to read the profound words these students left with peers. Graduates, we salute you!
Bluff City High School
Greetings ladies and gentlemen, family, and of course friends! It is an honor to not only stand here today as a graduate of Bluff City High School, but also as the Class of 2022’s Valedictorian. Which, I am not going to lie, doesn't make me feel any different compared to any of you. So, I stand before you all, not just as the Valedictorian but as a fellow student, a grey wolf, and friend.
I’d like to thank the students who kept pushing forward and did their best to graduate alongside me. I would also like to thank the extraordinary faculty and staff that spent their time building rapport with us and supporting us every step of the way up until this point. Finally, I would like to thank my family and friends for making the journey to get to the top the most pleasurable. All of you made this possible for me to stand up here on this stage and speak to you.
In the past, like a good portion of you would know, I was one of the shyer students. I rarely spoke unless necessary and just basically let my work be my voice. There was a pattern of constant setbacks that were consistent from 9th all the way to 12th. First off, the constant switching of classes back in 9th grade. 10th grade was relatively normal, but there weren’t many field trips or at least any interesting ones. Then COVID-19 came, bringing a full year of online learning for our 11th-grade year. A lot of students not only lost one of their few escapes from their home life at the time but also lost friends and family. I can relate because I lost someone very close to me near the end of that school year, my mother. Lastly, this brings me to our 12th-grade year where we finally transitioned from online to in-person learning. It was crunch time for a lot of us. College application deadlines, studying for the ACT, taking the ACT, etc… This school year was basically chaotic and at times felt like nothing was going as planned – such as the Senior Trip, Yearbook, community service hours, and so on and so forth.
From all that, I learned the value of time and managing it effectively. Sometimes it feels like we either have too much time or not enough time at all. However, one thing remains constant, everyone here has the same number of hours in a day. The only difference is how we use it. So let today serve as an opportunity for us to reflect on our time here and be thankful for the lessons learned. Even through times that felt like the walls were caving in on me, I was always reminded of the words of my beautiful late mother, whose birthday was yesterday. She would utter these simple, yet inspiring words “You See things through”. Well mom, here I am. Here we are, class of 2022, celebrating our historic graduation day, all because we had the courage to see it through. (silence).
BCHS has been a stepping stone for many students to grow and develop into the young adults they are today, including me. I wouldn’t say it was the hardest journey I've been through, but it was definitely the most interesting with classmates, no... friends like Charles, Karen, Sean, Christian, Nadia, and other fellow Seniors that really made high school a good experience for me, as well as the teachers and staff. Bluff City High School, thank you for giving us the opportunity to show the fruits of our labor and go out into the world and find ourselves. We all may have lost some family and friends along the way, but they will always be a part of our journey. Look up to the sky, they’re smiling down on us as we're finally graduating. Even in the future, they'll continue to lead and guide us with their spirits.
Now fellow students, like wolves, let's pounce our dreams and hold onto them tightly for the future we prepared for because once a grey wolf, always a grey wolf! It's time to get out into the wild and show the world how we howl!
Graduating high school is a huge milestone in a teenager's life. In the beginning, it seemed so far away. But now, it’s here. This is a major step in the journey of our lives. We should recognize its immense significance. Deciding to graduate high school is not just a simple personal commitment, but one that should be carried with great pride.
Think about it… Four years y’all! Four years is how long it took us to finally get the diploma that we worked so hard for. After long school days, many of us worked jobs and fulfilled other obligations that caused sleepless nights. And after all of that, we still got in trouble for our attendance. And most times, it wasn’t even our fault.
Reflecting on the beginning of our high school journey, who would’ve known that our 14- and 15-year-old selves would survive this long and unpredictable roller coaster. Now look at us, off this roller coaster and on our way to conquering the next big challenge. With all the lessons that we have learned, we are confident that they will all continue to help us in our journeys… Well, maybe not A^2 + B^2= C^2 , but the majority of them yes.
Man, I'm going to miss the good ole days… For instance, during our freshmen year when we took a school trip to Alabama, we had no service but still managed to have fun… because like, who can have fun without cell a phone service? But, whether it was standing up on the tallest step to get at least one bar, or mobbing into the boys cabin to scare them with the teachers… Those were the good ol’ days when nothing mattered but the presence of each other. For many of us, being around friends took us away from life’s problems. And now, those are nothing but memories… but memories that we hold very close to our hearts.
As we closed out junior year, many told us that senior year would be the easiest year of high school… Boy, were they wrong! From writing an 8–12-page research paper in less than a month, to taking all of our final, state dual enrollment, and AP exams within a week. Oh, and how could I forget- iReady! And then on top of that, trying to figure what to do with our lives after this day. Do we go to college? Do we pick up a trade? Do we hang until we figure it out?
Although these were stressful moments, I think we can all concur that these moments are better shaping us for the road ahead.
On behalf of the class of 2022, I’d like to extend our sincere appreciation to all of our teachers and administrators. Thank you for your hard work and dedication. Thank you for showing up! Although we weren’t and haven’t been the easiest group to handle, you all still managed to help get us all this far.
As I close, I want to personally say thank you to my mom and dad who are sitting somewhere here. They are the ones who motivated me day by day to become a better version of myself and got me through this journey with their advice, even if at times I was stubborn. They taught me more than any formal education could have. To my siblings and sissy-in-law, thank you for being by my side the entire journey whether I was wrong or right and for always doing what you could to uplift me.
Lastly, I want to congratulate all the seniors in here who finished strong even though there were many times in which we wanted to give up. We are going out into this world with the confidence and readiness needed to succeed. Now let’s use our gifts and our time to make the world a better place.
Lo logramos pero es solo el comienzo. We made it, but it’s only the beginning.
Fairley High School
Good evening, everyone!
I would like to thank everyone who came out today to support our graduates. I would also like everyone to give a round of applause to our graduates.
You are not just applauding them for their accomplishment today. You are applauding them for persevering through school for all these years. This class is nothing short of extraordinary. Though we experienced a lot of disappointment and dark days. I would rather focus on the brighter days. The laughs, good moments, and life-long bonds we have made.
My message to my fellow classmates is to go out in this world and conquer. I have faith that you all will never give up. I know this because I have witnessed some of them at their lowest, yet they still pushed through. That's why success is inevitable for you guys. We have all come a long way, and now is the time to show everyone what we're capable of. Nothing can stop us and we have proved that by overcoming every obstacle thrown our way.
I would like to thank the amazing teachers and staff who have helped us along the way. Especially, Mrs. Marable for being patient, generous, and not allowing us to give up. Ms. Edwards and Ms. Smallwood for willingly taking their personal time to assist us. Ms.Hubbard for making sure we do our best and nothing less, and Ms.Stone for always being a listening ear. l am grateful to them and my classmates for participating in this wild journey with me. Without you all, my senior year wouldn't be complete.
Lastly, I would like to say even if you're feeling down or discouraged, remember your current situation is not your final destination.
Cheers to Class of '22!
Hello, my name is Lakevia Tate, your 2022 class salutatorian. It’s a honor to be speaking with you today. First, I would like to thank my parents. All parents, grandparents, guardians, or anyone who supported our graduates. Without them, we wouldn't be standing here today. Thanks for standing in the bleachers cheering while we run the race. I would also like to thank my teachers, the staff, and last but not least my fellow graduates, Congratulations to all graduates.
This year has been extremely difficult with many trials and tribulations, but you have made it
through. High School is a rollercoaster but I'm thankful for the ups and downs. Without the ups and downs, this experience would not have been the same.
I will now read a poem by Lilli Vailhere:
"Behind you, all your memories, before you all your dreams, around you all who love
you, within you all you need."
It's a simple poem about who you are, but it speaks volumes about what you should already know. But if you want to know more your life is going somewhere and the view is changing something. You are growing older and the road ahead of you is not as straight as it seems. but your life is going somewhere. Today you will go forward, tomorrow you will turn around, and with you all your fears but as Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. said, "You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it's right." Thank you for your time.
Now is the time to celebrate. I wish you luck on your path to success.
Hillcrest High School
I am Leelah Scales, valedictorian of Hillcrest High's class of 2022. I am honored to be here today and share this moment worth remembering with every one of you. I have seen this school for many generations, due to my relatives also attending Hillcrest. This school is full of memories and great personalities. I want to give a special thanks to each teacher, counselor, principal, staff member, and CSO that helped pave the way to what Hillcrest is today.
These four years have not been easy, but I kept pushing through my trials and tribulations. It was never just about a spot for me, but instead I set goals and made sure to make my mother proud. No matter where you are seated or standing in this auditorium today, just know before you leave here, that you have a purpose. Keep persevering and become who you want to be. There's only one you, just make sure it's the genuine you. This is only the beginning of who we will all become.
My mother, who I also want to give the greatest thanks to, is the main reason I am who I am today. Even through stress and financial hardships, she stayed a strong, black, and proud woman. I just want to let you know you are very appreciated.
I would also like to bring awareness to one major issue here in the African American community. The issue is gun violence and black-on-black crime. It's truly sad to see that after we were all free from slavery, we were still enslaved by a slave’s mentality, killing each other, and consistently being separated. We need to put down the guns and our fists, and instead open our hearts and minds. We need to become what Black really is meant to be. Black is strong and beautiful and needs to be portrayed as such. We need to hear more about black entrepreneurship and excellence. I have faith that if we all wake up and come together, we will no longer be considered the minority and the modern stereotype of what Black is. We must own who we truly are and make a change. Thank you.
Welcome to A’Nyah’s 101
I want to start off by acknowledging that this has been an amazing senior year. We all have been waiting for this moment. I am aware that the senior year has had its fair share of conflicts, but we all still did what we were determined to do which is to GRADUATE. When I finally became a senior, I thought it was going to be hard getting advice from others and hearing their stories. I had to understand everyone’s battles aren’t the same.
My senior year was delightful even with the obstacles that were included in my journey. I learned to stay positive within myself. I have seen so many of my classmates blossomed during their time at Hillcrest. I have seen the hard work, dedication, and gratitude. I want to thank everyone who helped me along my journey, I love you all dearly. If I didn’t have my mom and Ms. TJ in my corner, I wouldn’t have continued on my path with a positive mindset and attitude. I also want to thank Ms. Hogan for always telling me to thrive and never give up. I am truly proud of myself for making it this far.
I am grateful for having the individuals that have been in my corner. In the words of Maya Angelou,” COURAGE is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically but nothing consistently without courage.” So, what I want to say to all of you is to never doubt yourself no matter what’s happening in your life.
To my fellow underclassmen I want to leave you a message, “just train the mind and the body will follow.” That’s the end of A’Nyah’s 101.
Class of 2022 is dismissed.
*All speeches have been condensed to conserve space.
Green Dot Public Schools Tennessee | 4950 Fairley Road, Memphis, TN 38109