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Graduation: One Last Lesson

Students teach each other that their decisions today shape who they are tomorrow.

This past Saturday, members of Newark Memorial High School’s class of 2011 had their chance to shine as each student walked across the stage to receive his or her high school diploma.

 The ceremony started with a welcome speech by Patricia Phonphiboun, senior class president.

Her speech was sentimental, reflecting on the past four years and everything the class of 2011 had been through.

These things included diligently working on Spirit Week skits, dealing with the loss of classmate Justice Afoa earlier this year, and some more common problems high schoolers face, like drama with friends, or staying up until 3 a.m. writing essays and doing homework. Most of all, her speech addressed how much everyone grew as individuals, and as a class, over the last four years.

“I was trying to keep my friend from crying,” said Christian Arroyo.

The later speeches came from Valedictorian Vinit Nayak,and Salutatorian Ian Cordero. Both spoke of the way they achieved their success. Most importantly, the two talked about how you make yourself whatever you want to be.

Nayak’s speech also pondered the famous question, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

To answer this, he spoke of many other famous people’s responses to this question, such has Barack Obama. 

He eventually concluded that the chicken crossed the road because it wanted to—and used that message to convey the point that you make your own decisions, and are capable of whatever you want to do.

While this segment of the speech brought on many laughs, it also inspired people and made them think.

“I liked the fact that he put a unique twist on his speeches. It made his messages much more effective and memorable,” said Christina Adams.

“You are as good as your decisions,” said Nayak during the closing statements of his speech.

After the reading of graduates' names and the handing out of diplomas, Nayak gave a second speech that reflected on some of the events that took place in pop culture and the rest of the world over the past four years.

To mark the end of an era, graduates moved the tassels on their caps from the left to the right, and commenced taking pictures and celebrating their great accomplishments over the past four years with their loved ones.

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