Ashley Mendoza gave one of the speeches this year to the graduating class at Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School in Philadelphia.
Ashley has been at the school since the sixth grade. Since then, she has made the honor roll every year.
When she was a Sophomore, her teachers nominated her for a program called Summer Search. It helps low income students who have leadership qualities reach their full potential and go to college. Through that program, she was able to go to on educational trips during the summers of her Sophomore and Junior years.
Ashley will attend Albright College in the fall. Her dream is to become a clinical psychologist and specialize with dealing with youth.
Here is her speech to the Class of 2013:
Throughout our journey at MBA we’ve all gone through some type of change. Perhaps you were once a shy and introverted individual, but now you’re not afraid to speak up. Perhaps the people you were close with when you first got here are now just faces in the hallway. Or maybe your best friend transferred to another school… mine did. Even when change seems bad, there is always some good that comes with it.
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When my best friend left MBA I was really upset. She was the only person I really talked to so I was pretty lonely at the time. Today, oddly, I’m grateful that she left. Because is she didn’t, now, I would’ve still been stuck in the same place I was back then. Her absence allowed me, or rather pushed me, to open up to other people and not stay constricted to just one person. It’s amazing how people you never thought you would talk to, end up being some of the most important people in your life.
Change is good. It’s important. Change forces us to move forward from situations that we’d otherwise be stuck in. After tonight class of 2013 we’re going to go through one of the biggest changes of our lives. We will no longer be high school students. Instead, we will be high school graduates on our way to bigger things.
The future is uncertain. No one knows what will happen a year from now, or even today. And honestly, I’m scared. I’m going to spend the next four years of my life an hour and a half away at Albright College. My life is going to completely change and I know that I’m going to feel lonely and I’m going to get homesick, but so will a lot of other people. Every time you feel lonely or scared just remember that you’re not the only one that feels that way.
In our lives at some point or another we are going to feel overwhelmed by our surroundings, and that’s ok. Sometimes things aren’t going to turn out the way you expect. But what distinguishes a winner from a loser is the ability to adapt to any situation. When one door closes, another opens. I know that going through the open door can be scary because you don’t know what’s on the other side. But life is full of surprises and resilience is a very useful skill. One thing that I have realized in my life, is that the only thing that’s stays constant, is change. Don’t be afraid of change, don’t run away from it. Embrace the change and ultimately, you will be successful.