Graduation Speeches

Katherine Barnes

2016 Class Valedictorian

Good afternoon.

Wow. Congrats, guys! I am beyond proud of us today. As Drake said, “We started from the bottom, now we here.” Here we are, the Chelsea High School class of 2016. We’ve all worked extremely hard to be sitting in these seats, about to walk across this stage. I may be biased, but our class is by far the best! We’ve been through so many challenges. There have been things to celebrate and things to mourn. However, through all the loss, all the happiness, and all of the changes, we have come out on top time and again.

Today is bittersweet. Some of us are saying goodbye to our friends, our family and our home.

Some of us are embarking on our journeys closer to home. When we walk across this stage and receive our diplomas, we will be ending this chapter of our lives. It is scary and exciting all at the same time. With the end of this chapter, we begin a new one. A chapter filled with adventures and anecdotes that will help shape us into adults. So yes, today is sad, but tomorrow is filled with opportunity. I know that each and every one of us will take the world by storm, just like we did in high school. We started from the bottom, but we still have so much more to achieve.

Every person in this room is capable of creating waves in the world. I hope that you all continue

to enact change in college and beyond. Most importantly, I hope that we come back to Chelsea.

We all owe this school, this city immensely. There are many ways we could make tremendous

differences to create a better place for the next generation of Chelsea High School students. We cannot forget that we were once devils, too. We cannot forget that we will always be devils.

As I look out into the crowd, I see the people who have helped us get where we are today: parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers. I also want to congratulate the families and friends of the graduates. Without your constant love and support, many of us, including myself, would not be sitting here today. Also, a big shoutout to all the teachers and guidance counselors who supported us, who were always there when we needed help, who became more like friends than teachers. Knowledge is the best gift that you could have given us.

I’m very happy to be here today with all of you. I couldn’t ask for a better class. I hope you are all proud of what you have accomplished! Good luck on your future endeavors! Go B16 or Go Home, 2016!

George Hernandez

2016 Class President

This is to unreal. The day has finally come, today we receive a piece of paper that we’ve all been trying so hard to get. A piece of paper that says we are Chelsea High graduates. Class of 2016, I want to start off by saying, thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your Class President over the past two years. If you guys know me, you’ll know I’m a loud person, I’m usually good at talking to large crowds. But there’s something about all of you guys, that gets me extremely nervous.

As I was writing this speech, I could not stop shaking. It had finally hit me, we are graduating. This is the scariest, most exciting thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. I want to scream and shout out of excitement but I lowkey want to hug Tobar and Almquist and not let them go. On May 27, our last day of school, I realized that I am graduating with the best class Chelsea High has ever seen! What other class do you know, gets their senior prank ruined then decides to throw the craziest 20 minute block party during 3rd period to make up for it? What other class do you know, who didn’t get to watch their senior video but instead of complaining and whining, they decide to get up and dance with one another to enjoy themselves and make the best of time? NO other class, I repeat! No other class will ever compete with 2016!

I want to wish everyone who awaits a diploma, the best of luck in the future. Whether you’re going to college, to serve the country, or whatever it is you choose to do in life after today, I wish you all luck my friends.

The real world is serious, we may or may not be ready for it. But it’s like hide n seek.

Ready or not, here it comes. I want you guys to leave here with something that I found very inspiring, In the movie, Big Hero 6, Hero’s older brother, created Baymax. He did not get Baymax on the first try, He tried over and over again but nothing, you could see the frustration in his face. He never once gave up because he knew Baymax would make a difference in life.

Finally, after 84 tries, Baymax was created. The excitement and joy Hero’s brother had was on another level. He knew he had finally done it. The message I hope you guys get out of this is, Life will get frustrating, but never give up. Sooner or later great things will come and you will impact this world for the better.

My fellow classmates. Seniors. Class of 2016. It’s been real. Congratulations to each and every one of you. To all the teachers and admin, thank you guys for not giving up on us but it’s time for us to go, we want our diplomas! CLASS OF 2016! WE DID IT!

William Dario

2016 Class Salutatorian

Good Afternoon Everybody, Before I start, I would like to thank everyone in the crowd, because one way or another you have helped at least one of these graduates make it here. Of those people I would like to specifically thank my parents, for telling me “Ponte las pilas mijo” nearly everyday and encouraging me to be the best I can be. I would also like to give a special thanks to the teachers that did more than just teach. Whether it’s for writing a caring letter to a student that did not get accepted to their dream school, or taking a group of students out to eat brunch, your actions are appreciated, but now I would like to address the following to the graduating class of 2016.

Ever since I was about 6 years old I asked myself the same question: Would I rather be the best player on the worst team or the worst player on the best team?

And for over 10 years I never had a definite answer. It wasn’t until this year that it came clear to me that the latter option was the correct one.This year, as part of the Chelsea High School Varsity Soccer Team, I spent most of my time on the bench. I was cautious of every pass I attempted, and the few times I had the opportunity to play a game, I nearly wet my pants. So why would I think this was the best option?

Well, that is because I found my purpose on the team. I filled the water bottles, helped teammates with homework assignments and Performance Assessments, and best of all, I was there to support and hug my best friend the night we go eliminated from States. Why is this story even relevant? Because this is how life will be from now on.

We will interact with people that have done things that we never dreamed we would be able to to do, and we may feel intimidated, maybe even insignificant, but we can’t let these thoughts consume us. We cannot start off wanting to be the very best like no one ever was, because that will be overwhelming. Instead we must start off wanting to be the best individuals we can be, and the rest will follow.

I know that we can push ourselves to do it because I have seen it happen. It is because of our passion that we had to have two AP Bio classes for the first time at CHS. It is because of our passion that our class has broken many school records.

But why stop there? Because of our passion, we can become professional athletes, lifesaving doctors, great authors, artists, actors anything we dream of. But don’t let your dreams be dreams. I want you guys to promise me that everyday you will wake up and work hard at it. Make your dreams come true. I’m not telling you it will be easy, because it won’t. Some days we’ll cry and some days we’ll cry even more. But remember, Albus Dumbledore once said, “happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light,” and turn on the light we shall.

Class of 2016, we’ve had a great four years, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Good luck to everyone and remember, only you can control your future.

Priti Johari

Chelsea High School Principal

Welcome 2016 graduates, parents and family members, Chelsea High School Faculty, Superintendent Mary Bourque and other members of the Chelsea Public Schools.  I would also like to thank our esteemed School Committee and City Council members as well as our many valued community partners for attending today.  I am truly thrilled to present to you Chelsea’s graduating class of 2016; they are a talented and motivated group.


This fall, as many of you know, I become a mother…I know, this sounds like a strange place to start a commencement speech for high school students.  But every day I think about the kind of world I want my daughter to grow up in and what she might do with her life.  My husband and I actually brought our daughter, Mira, home from the hospital the very same day as the attacks in Paris.  I keep a little notebook for Mira in which I try to jot down at least one thought or moment from the day.  On November 15th, I wrote, “The Paris attacks have left me anxious for the world you will grow up in.  But we will raise you to be strong and to make the world a better place in your own way.”

And so, young leaders, with this sentiment in mind I’ll begin with the same advice I heard President Obama recently impart to a group of college students, “fulfill your destiny and shape our collective future — bend it in the direction of justice and equality and freedom.”

On your journey, embrace your authentic self.  Each and every one of us is different than the other.  Not only are we from different cultures and traditions, but in Chelsea all of these cultures and traditions blend together in a different way.  In the words of Dr. Bourque we Chelsea-ify everything!  In dance class the other day, I observed students choreographing an original piece with hip hop, Bollywood and Honduran moves.  Every day at lunch I hear students seamlessly move between English, Spanish and Chelsea slang.  On multicultural night you’ll find papusas, pizza and fried chicken all on the same plate.  One of the most important lessons I have learned in Chelsea is that there is no ONE way to be.  The way to fit in, at least in Chelsea, is not to be one way, but to be yourself.  Carry this lesson with you as you move forward and spread this message.

As much as we are different from one and another we also have a shared of experience.  Walking across this stage, in this gym, in this city is a shared experience between us.  Being nervous about presenting your Capstone project and asking a friend how theirs went, walking on tiny sidewalks piled high with mountains of snow and growing up in urban microcosm are all experiences you share.  These shared experiences help us build empathy.  But we must also have empathy for people with whom we do not have as many shared experiences.  You are going out into the world – to college, to serve our country, to work – and you will encounter people with very different backgrounds or different core beliefs and it is our role to try our best to understand them and their perspectives.  Being open to differences and divergent perspectives can help you to live a fuller life.

I know this senior class to be one that is incredibly passionate and enthusiastic.  But passion is just the fuel on the road to change.  Change is in fact incremental – requiring a plan, patience and perseverance.  It does not happen overnight.  And as a result, sometimes people lose focus or don’t see it.  BUT the people sitting in this room have changed this school.  You are leaving Chelsea High School a different place than it was four years ago.  It is members of this class who came together and created a new student leadership class, members of this class who shaped and defined our capstone project, members of this class who led sports teams to shatter school records, members of this class who sat down with administration to revise the school dress code policy to reflect greater gender equity.  These are all changes — changes that will live beyond your time at CHS and whose impact future students will both feel and build upon.  I tell you this not so that you think your work is done, but to keep you in action.  There is so much more to be done.

I hope that your time at Chelsea High School has made you strong — strong of mind, strong of character and strong of will.  As you go into the world bring Chelsea with you and make the world a better place in your own way.

Thank you and good luck.

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