For those of you who don’t know, I was the valedictorian of my class. Here’s my speech from yesterday.
If you were to tell me last year that I would be standing in front of you all today, as the valedictorian of my class, I would have laughed in disbelief. That is why I would like to thank and praise my lord and savior Jesus Christ for granting me this opportunity to be here today.My story is a unique one filled with obstacles, triumphs, courage, and faith. I was raised single-handedly by my mother, a Nigerian immigrant. As a foreigner, she stressed the significance of taking advantage of the educational opportunity that the United States of America brings. She instilled in me the idea of work ethic and diligence to achieve my goals. I would like to thank and honor her. Without her I would not be in this position today, literally and figuratively. With these values, I tried my best to thrive in school. For the majority of my life I made straight A’s in school. This might seem like a great feat for any child, however you never lived with my mother. My A’s were the expectation. She was proud of me, but it was just the standard. For the majority of my high school career, I attended the International Baccalaureate school in Bartow. This was a rigorous program, that challenged and fulfilled my academic appetite. However, my junior year of school I fell ill. I experienced a severe nervous breakdown that impaired my physical, emotional, and academic abilities. After months in the hospital, I had to get out of the IB program. If you can only imagine my strife, you would see what a true miracle it is for me to be here today. I was a student who excelled in whatever I put my mind to, academically, athletically, and extracurricularly. My illness seemed like a major setback. Doctors thought that I would have to repeat a grade. Then, I found Gateway. Attending Gateway, has truly been one of the most wisest and successful decisions I have made in my academic career so far. Gateway fostered my academic pursuits in a caring and enriching manner. The faculty at Gateway are like a family.They genuinely care about my well-being as a student. I would like to thank Ms. Ortega for supporting me throughout my year at Gateway. She has been there for me through the ups and downs of this highly demanding senior year. I would also like to thank Ms. Jones. She is like a second mama at school for me. She has helped me to write recommendation letters and always gives helpful advice. Next, I I would like to thank my sister. Her academic excellence was a quintessential example. She pushed me just as hard as my mother and although she cannot be here today (as a medical school student), I am blessed to have her in spirit. Continually, I would like to thank my family and friends and every one who came to support me today. Your prayers and support have not gone unnoticed. They say it takes a village to raies a child. You all have definitely shown that. Each and every one of you have contributed to my growth as a person, and I am blessed to have you here. And once again, I would like to thank God. My faith has brought me out of so many negative situations and has led me to this place now. God is the real MVP. As I embark on the next chapter of my life, at the University of Central Florida, I am thrilled to know that I will always have the Gateway family.Classof 2016, I would like to leave you with this: Never give up on your dreams. If I can do it, you can do it. Keep your faith alive and you will succeed.Thank you for hearing my story. I am so honored.