Ask questions

Christopher High School salutatorian Gabriel Campazano

Christopher High School salutatorian Gabriel Campuzano’s speech from the 2019 commencement

Kubra Sait once stated, “Asking questions is the first way to begin change.”

Questions are asked on a daily basis—something that’s become essential to our lives.

Questions are also a means to opening up a conversation with people you barely know, much like I’m doing now. Right? Well if questions are truly capable of this, let’s have a conversation.

Let’s begin by taking a moment to understand what is in front of us this very day. Take a second to look around, take in the faces of the people we shared a fraction of our lives with, the buildings that surrounded us and the very ground we have crossed over and over again. We are only moments away from navigating through a platform while hoping we don’t trip over our gowns in the process. Before any of this happens, however, I urge every single one of you to reflect on your life at Christopher High these past years. More importantly, ask yourself how many times you woke up to get to class on time, or even to show up by the end of second period. Why? Well, every morning we are able to wake up is a complete victory in every way possible. Every morning you wake up, understand that you have the potential to shape, mold, and stretch your day into one that benefits you and, hopefully, others. The class of 2019 falls nothing short of perfect, and it consists of the most qualified people to change the lives of others they come across. I would not be able to point out the unique qualities that each and every one of you possess, mostly because it isn’t simple; it wouldn’t be anything I could sum up with a couple of words. What I can say, however, is that every student here woke up.

They woke up today. We woke up today to graduate, sure, but more importantly, to live another day. To share moments with the people we love and look up to. We woke up because we wanted to take hold of our lives and take another step toward happiness.

Why do we wake up? In order to teach others what you were once taught. We wake up because we are able to, and so we take advantage of this opportunity. We do this because some people weren’t gifted the chance to wake up just one more time. So we honor them, and the people before them, by waking up.

My mother once told me that my life should consist of happiness, that I was to find others who could enhance my life for the better, to fill it with the people I love. I don’t claim to be a motivational speaker, however, I can promise you that nobody, absolutely nobody can take your ability to make your life into what you want it to be. So take hold. Take hold of everything that your heart desires. If you aim to be a top surgeon practicing the most complicated surgeries known to man, perfect. Do it. If money doesn’t interest you and you decide that giving back to the community is something more valuable, pursue that. The people sitting next to you—I urge you to look at them—have done the same you did today. Every single person here has accomplished something most of us take for granted every morning we wake up. That is to say, how many times have you opened your eyes in the morning and looked toward your phone instead of looking toward the rest of your day. The point is, today is something gifted to each and every single person here. To not make the most of what we are gifted is to lose out on a completely overlooked blessing. So really, what is a question? If a question truly serves as a catalyst prompting some sort of change in our lives, then let’s ask them.

So without further ado, Class of 2019, are you ready to wake up?

 

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