Nadia Hill

Nadia Hill - Salutatorian, Hotchkiss High School

Good morning,

            I would like to start by thanking parents, guardians, teachers, and other supporters for helping to make this graduation possible and extremely special. And to the class of 2020, thank you for persevering and not giving up during these confusing times, so that we could all be here together to celebrate one final time. I will admit that this speech was not easy for me to write, but I am grateful to have the opportunity to address you and everyone who has come to support us on this great accomplishment in our lives.

While I sat studying for my AP Biology exam I noticed some recurring themes. The first is how miraculous it is that each and every one of us exists. There were endless possibilities for who we could be and what we could look like before we were even born, yet here we all are, the people we are today. A big part of that is thanks to our parents who supported us through all of these years, our teachers, but most of all each of us. 

Another key concept was that life is only possible because of diversity. Without diversity one thing can wipe out an entire population at once. We are all unique and because of that, we will all face problems differently. Some of us will come out of hard situations better than others while some of us will have a stronger appreciation for the small joys in life. Regardless of your strengths and weaknesses, we will all continue to survive and overcome obstacles in life because we have the power to come together and support one another. Where we are lacking, others are capable; where our strengths lie, others are likely to have faults. But together we encompass everything that each one of us needs to be complete, and together we can make it through anything. All of our differences make us stronger and more beautiful as individuals and as a whole.

This year alone we have supported one another through more tough times than I can count. It was supposed to be the reward for all of the hard work we’ve put in in years past and a celebration of one part of our lives ending and another beginning.  And in its own way, it still has been. Because of the struggles we have faced, from health problems in our school to tragic deaths in our district and community and even a world pandemic, we have had the opportunity to truly appreciate the bonds that we have formed over the past four years or longer as they helped us through these tough times. We have seen just how prepared we are for the real world as we’ve been thrown into it a couple of months too soon maybe before some of us thought we were ready. All of the hard work we have put in growing as individuals and together as a whole will pay off, and |look up| I can’t wait to see where all of you go in the future.

Finally, nothing should be taken for granted because life is constantly changing. Even in moments where we feel we are at a standstill the things in and around us are continuing to grow and die. Life can’t be paused, sped up, or slowed down. It will continue to crawl at a steady pace slowing moving towards the next thing like it always has and always will. We have no way of knowing what that next thing will be so remember to always appreciate the now and find contentment with where you are. Be patient, we can’t make the next thing come sooner and once the moment is gone we’ll likely want it back. 

As we come to the end of this phase of our life, we find ourselves trying to remember the good times and forget the bad times. We find ourselves thinking about the future, and starting to worry. What am I going to do? Where am I going to be in ten years? So I ask you to remember that you are a strong individual and can make it through almost anything, but don’t forget to let people help you along the way. Be accepting of yourself and your strengths as well as your weaknesses, but also remember to be accepting of others because we are all struggling in our own ways. No one is ever truly prepared for life no matter how old they are but we all have the tools we need to be successful in whatever we choose to do next, and we’ve already had the opportunities to prove that to ourselves. And lastly, be happy in the moment because right now that is all you have and all you need.