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Crisp Academy Salutatorian Speech

 

Salutatory Address by Rachel Hopper

Mr. Hathcock, Board of Trustees, parents, honored guests and fellow graduates, it is my honor to stand before you this morning as salutatorian of the Crisp Academy graduating class of 2020.

March 13th, 2020 started out as an amazing day for me. First, it was a school holiday so no math problems with Ms. Spires or writing an essay for Mrs. Cofer. Second, it was the day of our senior prom, so I was excited to get all dressed up and go spend the evening with my friends. Third, around lunchtime that day, I found out that I had been accepted to my dream college, the University of Georgia. The day was perfect, and to top off my perfect day, my classmates and I later found out that we would be out of school for two weeks because of the coronavirus, so we felt like we were getting an extended spring break.  I thought that the day could not get any better, but oh, was I fooled. What was supposed to be two weeks turned into two and a half months.

My classmates and I would never in a million years have guessed that our senior year would turn out the way that it did. In March our whole world changed, and every life was affected. In addition to living in quarantine and worrying about the safety of our friends and family, we were faced with personal disappointments.  Some seniors never got to play their last home baseball game; some never got to compete in the state literary competition after they had worked so hard to qualify; some never got the chance to place at the region or state track meet.  I never got the chance to step back onto the tennis courts and play the sport I have been practicing for five years.   None of us got to be the captains of field day teams or even to walk the halls one last time. Everything we had worked so hard for or looked forward to as seniors was stripped away in the blink of an eye. Our normal was no longer normal, and it was and still is hard to accept.

I have always firmly believed that everything happens for a reason and that we should never question God, but I would be lying to you if I said that I had not asked the question “why” multiple times.  Why did this pandemic happen during my senior year?  I’ve searched for an answer to this question, and I think I have found one.  I believe that God knows our class can navigate even the most difficult situation. God has given the individuals in our class abilities and characteristics to endure and to move forward no matter what the circumstances.

Several of my classmates have the ability to make the best out of the worst situations.  Billy, Noah, Reid, Julian and Dylan are the life and personality of our class. They are fun-loving individuals who know how to make others laugh, even when things are unpleasant or stressful.

Others in my class are bold.  Alannah, Ryan, Maddie, and Jacob do not hesitate to speak out and to voice their opinions.  Their boldness makes them capable leaders during difficult times.

While some of my classmates are bold, others are quiet, but those quiet individuals are hardworking and dependable.  Spencer, Luis, Anna and Haley are the quiet ones in this class who often keep their opinions to themselves. However, they will always step up and pitch in to get the job done.

Macy, Katherine, and I are the studious ones in the class.  Our academic achievement has enabled us to help classmates who were struggling in a particular course or needed help studying, and as thinkers, we can continue to create positive changes in the world around us.

Still others in my class possess a characteristic that is certainly necessary in this time of fear and struggle.  They are resilient.  Katerina and Amelia, you are my role models. These two ladies, I believe, are the most prepared for whatever life throws at them. As young children, they both lost a parent, one a father and the other a mother. Yet, look at them now. They are strong, independent young women with bright futures. They are exactly what we each need to be. They have not let the situations of the world set them back or dampen their spirits. Instead, they are resilient.  They have remained strong and are still moving forward.

This is the graduating class of 2020: fun-loving, bold, dependable, studious, and resilient. God allowed us to face this pandemic because He has shaped us with the ability to endure.  He knew we could not only handle adversity but could also set an example for others on how to face difficult times. During my many years at Crisp Academy, my class has changed in its dynamics, but who we are today is something to be proud of.

After reflecting on my time in quarantine, I realize that the Lord has been teaching me an important lesson:  to embrace change no matter what it may be and to face my fears. Psalm 46:1-3 states, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”  Class of 2020, we are living in a time of fear. No one knows what tomorrow holds and what we will have to face in the future, but I can say with complete confidence that the class of 2020 is prepared for whatever is to come.