By Tanya Correya '16, Valedictorian
When I first joined Randolph in 9th grade, my motto was to graduate without being noticed by anyone. As I walked towards the white pillars of the entrance to the Nichols Academic Building on the first day of high school, I did not know what to expect. It was the day of the 9th grade retreat and all the 9th graders had been crowded in front of the front door catching up with their friends about what they had done during summer vacation.
Almost immediately after I set foot on the first step leading up to the school, a girl ran up to me and introduced herself as Elle, asking if I was a new student. She and her friends first welcomed me with open arms into Randolph.
I do not have any single magical moment that transformed me. It was the little things at Randolph that helped me come out of my cocoon.
Later that week, as the clock slowly ticked through Honors Geometry, I thought I would go unnoticed by Mrs. Holt as I had chosen a strategic seat near the door. She had already called on a few students to answer questions written on the board. While the class was engrossed in the problem displayed on the board, Mrs. Holt suddenly called my name and asked me to work out the problem on the board. I had been terrified of the possibility of getting the wrong answer in front of the entire class. Although I was apprehensive, I was pleasantly surprised when Mrs. Holt smiled and said that I was correct. I began looking forward to math class.
Last year, in AP English Language class, Ms. Rossuck made sure that I, along with every other student in the room spoke up during discussion every day. If I did not jump in with my ideas, Ms. Rossuck would notice and call on me. Every voice was heard. They couldn’t let me go unnoticed. This year, my favorite subject was AP Biology. Just like my other teachers, Dr. Chan was always available to clarify doubts and answer any questions. We did not simply learn from the textbook for this class.
The summer before senior year, I was determined not to take physics again. I had thought of taking a light course-load so that I could enjoy senior year. However, Mr. Freeman guided me to take AP Physics C, along with BC Calculus knowing that I would be well prepared to handle the course load. And he was right. I grew to love the challenges presented to me by these demanding courses. Since senior year was busy with college applications, I was forced to learn to manage my time better so that I could balance my academics while along with my extracurriculars. Even when I didn’t believe I could survive high school with all the demanding classes I had taken on, all of my teachers believed in me. As a result, I am here before you today giving this speech. I was encouraged to excel in the fields that I myself did not know I was interested in.
At Randolph, the teachers take the time to know each student’s caliber and help us to put forth our best efforts. We have all been fortunate to form long-lasting relationships with incredible people without whose love and support we would not be here. My account is only one of the many voices at Randolph, but I can safely say that I have grown as an individual both intellectually and socially because of the wonderful influences and support that surrounded me.
On behalf of the class of 2016, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the teachers and parents for always being willing to lend a hand and words of encouragement to keep us going. They have always dedicated themselves to supporting us throughout our ups and downs.
I spent this week watching marathons of Harry Potter movies and dreaming of receiving my Hogwarts admission letter and building a time machine to buy myself more time to sum up all of my experiences and life at Randolph for this speech. Like Harry, we are climbing onto our own personal Hogwarts Express today that will take us into the rest of our lives.
Beyond graduation, there await challenges, hardships and lots and lots of people who do not care about you the way that people here do. But remember, you have opportunities others around the world cannot even dream of! Embrace your challenges and turn them into opportunities.
As the artist Bob Ross would say, “The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strongly enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.”
Congratulations to the brave, bold, and beautiful class of 2016.