High school may just be the hardest point of anyone's life. It is the most difficult place to grow and change in the horrifying midst of cliques, suspensions, SATs, and GPAs. It is very easy to do the wrong thing in high school. It is very lonely to do the right thing. But as the cold weeks of February turned into the humid days of May, seniors change. They change for better or for worse, but mostly for the better.
Jacques Wells told me the other day that because I am no longer his teacher that he can curse and yell in my classroom and then he asked me to sign his yearbook. I wrote in his yearbook to remember the time I let him drive my car. And then he gave me a hug.
Sekou Kamara told me that when he is rich and famous that he will drop a couple stacks at my place for helping him with his senior project paper. I am banking on that.
Khaleda Sharif is the salutatorian for today's ceremony. She is such a beautiful young woman who worked tremendously hard to get where she is today. In her speech she writes,
I remember the first day I came to West Philadelphia High School. I was nervous and worried about making friends. I didn’t think on the first day that I would be asked to speak in front of you today. In four years, I have met friends that I will never forget like Jacques Wells. I met teachers that would do anything for their students. We had our ups and downs but this is the time to think about all our accomplishments.
If I don’t stay in Philadelphia, I will always be reminded of my time at West. I love this community and hope for its success.
My classmates and friends are very talented because I saw them at their best. You will go far in life because you worked very hard to get to this point. I know this is only the beginning for me. It is only the beginning for the class of 2010.
A lot of our seniors are going to Community College of Philadelphia, Penn State satellite campuses, and Kutztown. Jacques, Khaleda, and Momo are all going to Penn State!
While graduation is taking place, the West Philly Hybrid X Team is speaking at City Hall with Mayor Nutter. He wanted to send us off with a ceremony before we head to Detroit, Michigan for the Knockout stage. Currently, the students are working in the shop to shine and polish the GTM Factory Five Kit car. It looks beautiful.
It's a big day around here in West Philly. Please keep us in your thoughts while our seniors embark on new possibilities and we head to the Knockouts!