“Whether we are thousands of miles away or sitting side by side, adventure awaits at every corner. I challenge you to go find it.”
By Steffany Nguyen ’18
Good Evening Parents, Faculties, Friends, and Class of 2018,
Thank you so much for being here in one of the most important moments of our lives. Thank you to our parents for supporting us on this journey, and to faculty and staff for supplying us with your never-ending wisdom, and to the friends, who are always with us when we need them. Honestly, I don’t know how to start off a speech, but I believe that is what life is like. We all start off at different places, and where we end up is really up to us.
Every time I walk through the halls or the quad to get to my next class, I get to see everyone. I look out and see our classmates playing boat ball or I look at the classrooms and I see students reflect on the aftermath of a big math test. But what is most precious to me is that I get to say Hi to everyone I pass and they get to say hi back. To me, that is the most important connection that I have experienced here at Punahou. Even if I don’t know the person, I know that they exist and they know that I exist. I believe that when you see someone, it’s the feeling that they have given you that you will remember them by. That feeling that will last a lifetime.
As I look out at the seats let me tell you what I see. The amount of love that this class has towards one another is really incredible. How we are able to lift each other up, listen to one another, and just be there when someone needs it. I’m so thankful to belong to such a unique, and musically talented class. During my Capstone trip to Alaska, an elder told me “hey, you matter” without knowing who I was. This was something that had motivated me to strive and become a better version of me. So now I am telling you, every single one of you, that you matter. I believe in you as you have believed in me. I believe in us. And because of the amount of faith, and trust and high-fives that we have given each other, we all have grown and we will continue to grow.
Classmates, please take a moment and look to your left, now look to your right. Whether you have just met that person next to you or have known them your whole life, these people that you are sitting next to will graduate with you. Be proud of that. Just take it in and embrace all that is around of you. It’s amazing how we went from that first day in Freshman year and getting to that first class at 7 a.m. to “eh, I got until ‘35” to sitting here, side by side.
Let me remind you that we are a group of dreamers, realists, visionaries, thinkers, and do-ers. From here, we start the next chapter of our lives. From here, we set out to see what the world has in store for us. So don’t stop us now. Instead, let us continue to walk on this path that we call life. Whether we are thousands of miles away or sitting side by side, adventure awaits at every corner. I challenge you to go find it. So my Class of 2018, I wish you all happiness, success, and from the bottom of my heart thank you for everything that you have done for me.