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2019-2020 Graduation Speech by Emma Hackler

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for coming to our commencement ceremony today, though it was later than expected. A few months ago, we quite literally thought this day would never come. And though many things have been taken from the class of 2020, we also have so much to be grateful for.

I moved to Saint Francis in March of 2016, terrified of beginning high school with new people and completely starting over. However, I soon found that I had nothing to worry about. Not only did my classmates accept me with open arms, but teachers gave me new and exciting academic challenges that allowed me to rise to my full potential. There were beautiful and joyous times throughout high school that I will never forget.

Nevertheless, we all had times where school felt a little boring and never-ending, especially during our senior year. On March 13, 2020, otherwise known as our last day of normalcy, of walking down these hallways as students, I had a similar feeling; I was burnt out, unmotivated, and debated not coming to school at all. Looking back, I wish I would have savored every moment a little more, lived in the moment as much as I could, and appreciated how incredible my life truly was before it changed forever. We didn’t say too many goodbyes that day, assuming that we would see everyone once again after spring break. As all of you know, this was not the case.

And so, we traversed the new territory of online schooling with sadness in our hearts. I know I speak on behalf of all my classmates when I say that we missed our teachers, coaches, and friends dearly. Fortunately, as an inborn introvert, I was able to pull some positivity and lessons from the weeks of quarantine, some of which I would like to share with you today. First of all, I learned that it is important to only surround yourself with those who bring you true joy. Anyone who takes away from your energy and happiness is not worth your time of day. This does not mean to be with people who never give you criticism or contrary advice, but rather those who help you grow as an individual and care enough about you to tell you the truth. Secondly, and most importantly, never take life for granted. As we steam ahead into the next stage of our lives, it is important to take every opportunity that comes to us and put our heart and soul into living our lives to the fullest. Tell people you love them and thank them for their kindness. Don’t let your life become a movie that you’re watching from the sidelines. Make choices, take risks, and have fun.

As we leave here today, there are a few names I must mention. Mr. Jenkins, thank you for teaching us with an unmatched passion for so long; you will be greatly missed. Mr. Morrow, you have been a kind and fair principal and friend to all of us and we are incredibly grateful. To all of our teachers, coaches, custodial and administrative staff here at Saint Francis, thank you for giving us a wonderful place to grow up and thrive in. Though we are no longer students, the friendships and connections we made within these walls will never be forgotten. We will try to continue to live up to your expectations for us in order to repay you. And again thank you for coming.

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St. Francis 100 College Street St. Francis, KS  67756

Superintendent's Office: 785-332-8182 High School Office: 785-332-8153 Elementary Office: 785-332-8143

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