Learn from the present

Gilroy High School Salutatorian Christopher Arellano Reyes

Gilroy High School Salutatorian Christopher Arellano Reyes’ speech from the 2019 commencement ceremony

While writing this speech, I realized that summing up the last four years of high school is pretty difficult to do within five minutes.  As I wrote this I had no idea where to start or where I would go. I felt like it was my first day of freshman year or the beginning of my first cross country race.

As freshmen we all had something in common; we were all lost on what to do and adjusting to the new environment we were in. We also had many firsts: our first football game, first float-building competition, first homecoming dance, first rally, first finals and the first of many mistakes. Sophomore year came around and it felt like a repeat of freshman year, with a better experience, because we didn’t feel lost anymore; we felt more unified and got to meet new friends that we’d overlooked before. Junior year came like a slap to the face. I can guarantee you that, due to the long nights of reading the APUSH textbook. Even though Mr. Williams’ class kept most of us up really late, we all still miss the man, the myth, the legend.

Finally, at the crossroads of the end of our student career and our mature paths of further education, serving our country or pursuing a place in the workforce, we reached it: senior year, where on behalf of the senior class, I think I can say senioritis hit us pretty rough. We were all like a Michael Scott from The Office when doing homework or honestly, any work in general. Senior year was also the year of many lasts: our last first day, last football game, last time at the senior tables, last prom, last rally, and in my case, the last day of doing the morning announcements.

Through the years we adjusted and became comfortable, we made our friends, joined our favorite clubs and did our favorite sports. The thing is, to focus on these little things, to focus on embracing the race itself, the experiences gained from racing through the course. What lessons you learned from your mistakes, the memories that you made and the challenges that you faced throughout the four-year-long race. Racing isn’t about the amount of time it takes to get from start to finish. It’s the adventure you have along the way, the people you meet and the unique moments that you share.

We yearn to shape a future for not just ourselves, but an even better future for Gilroy High School. Throughout our lives, we have been taught that success is about being at the top of your class and going to a great college, but I agree to disagree. The thing I love about Gilroy High School is that it embraces and recognizes not just people moving on to higher education but people moving on to serve our country or going into the workforce right after high school.

Gilroy High School has taught me many lessons: One that really stuck to me was that success doesn’t bring happiness, happiness brings success. Though each one of us here today face different struggles, experiences, and learned many different lessons throughout the last four years, we now embark on a new journey, a new race into the real world. We can take our experiences and lessons with us to prepare us for this new adventure and help us create our own trail of success. Remember, yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift—that’s why it’s called the present.

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