By Elijah Venecia
Here we are, Class of 2020. Our graduation day. No one could’ve imagined things to be this way, but we have to play the cards we’ve been dealt. My speech today is centered on the past. Everyone has one and it’s your choice to decide how it impacts the person you are today.
Like most, my life has had its fair share of adversity. 5 years ago, you couldn’t have told me that I’d be here graduating, much less giving a speech. The past has taught me so much in only my first 18 years. Growing up in a single-parent home, it was easy to make examples of those around me. I saw many examples of people who grew up with what most would call “nothing” to turn themselves into something I considered successful, serving as a role model. I also saw many people fight every day for their lives. Whether it’d be doing everything they could just to make ends meet or trying to kick an addiction, it showed me how the people who didn’t “make it” could still serve as role models because of their persistent fight. There are multiple examples of each in my own family. From some struggling, successful, and just straight up stubborn people, the biggest lesson I learned was love.
From a young age, my Great-Grandmother, Margarita Linares, showed me something I
could never forget — LOVE. It wasn’t just towards me, it was each and every family member who was around at the time. Whether it would be gifting us any amount of money, a huge Zip-Loc bag of her tortillas — which we all miss so much — or even just one bug in her chair in the kitchen. It showed constant love. Thank you Ma, I know you are here with our whole family and me every day. And to all those who showed me love and support including Ashley Linares, Maria Linares, Maribel Baumberger, Angie and Noe Gonazlez, and Terry and Laura Flint, thank you for being the reason I made it here.
We all have that person or even multiple people like my Great-Grandmother in our lives. This day means just as much to them as it does to us. Thank you to those who have been a part of our journey in the past to get us here. I’m honored to be here along with my classmates.
Throughout completely different pasts from each and every one of us, we made it The most important part throughout our past 12 years together, is we’ve all fought our own battles and won. A quote that has gotten me through life is “the past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited or erased; it can only be accepted.” Here’s to our pasts that we can only accept and make a better future out of. Congratulations to the Class of 2020, we did it
High School Past
By Kolin Dugle
First things first, I would like to congratulate the Class of 2020. I would also like to thank the faculty and staff for making high school an unforgettable experience. Just while we have been in high school, the Cubs were crowned World Series Champions, the Earth experienced the first solar eclipse since 1918, Prince Harry finally found a bride, and Aunt Becky was indicted. If there is one thing that helped me through my time at HAHS, it is humor. In the words of former Wyoming Senator Alan K. Simpson, “humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of life.” While history was made on the outside world, Cornjerkers were making history in the classroom and on their respective sports fields. During this time, my most favorite memory of high school was when the Hoopeston Area FFA Chapter was recognized as a three star chapter, the highest rating nationally that an FFA Chapter can be awarded. Cornjerkers are resilient and persevering human beings who expect a lot out of themselves and a lot out of others. I am proud to have attended Hoopeston Area High School and I am proud to say “Once a Cornjerker, Always a Cornjerker.”
By Payton Small
To the class of 2020,
Our current situation is something I would have never imagined happening to us, but we are a class that can always handle curve balls. even though we should have had our last prom, senior trip, last day of high school and many other things we will always have a way of remembering our senior year. We are leaving high school in a very unique way that we will never forget. I would give anything to be sitting in the hot gym with you all, experiencing this once in a lifetime moment sharing what could be some of our last moments together but JB thought otherwise. Thank you, JB. All jokes aside, I am so proud of each and everyone of you for pushing through the last four years and I’m proud to be a part of the class of 2020. Thank you for all the memories of Hoopeston Area High School, embrace the moment.
By Erin Anderson
Four years ago, we walked into this very gym for the first time to start our high school experience. We walked in the doors timid freshmen, afraid of what was coming our way. Today, we officially leave this school to the other three classes that we have spent our senior year with.
In many ways, it has been a very long four years but it has also been a very short four years.
Many of us believe that our time here was cut short, and for many it was. Despite the never-ending homework, stressful tests, and projects we have made memories here that will last a lifetime. So many of us have spent countless hours in these halls staying after school for student council events, musical rehearsals, FFA events, practicing various types of music, and playing in games that we will always remember. Our dedication to our school and ourselves is what we leave behind. For the Class of 2020, we are leaving behind our resilience to change and uncertainty. That is our legacy.
I know that this is not what we pictured when we dreamed of a normal graduation
ceremony. Nothing about our senior year has ever really been normal. However, we have
accomplished far more than so many other classes have before us. We have had so much taken
from us this year, but we continued to strive for success and have hope in our surroundings. We are choosing to look to the future and remember our past with every bittersweet moment. No matter where we go or what we do, there are going to be challenges that we cannot control. What truly makes your character count is how you face these challenges and open your heart to the endless possibilities of life. This is what changes our world and allows us to implement change in our everyday life. No matter what you see as a win, your successes and failures make a mark on the world. Each and every one of us are in the position to do something positive with our lives and change the dynamic of the world around us. Throughout the course of this year, I have thought endlessly what I wanted to say to the many people that have loved and supported me along this journey. The word that comes to mind first is thankfulness. I am thankful to have grown up in such a tight-knit community with the most amazing people by my side. I am thankful for the opportunities that our class as a whole have been given despite the circumstances. I am extremely thankful to be standing up here today one last time with my class
before we all go our separate ways. Many of us will take very different paths from our friends and other classmates. Some will begin their first year of college or technical school. Some will join the military and serve our country. Others will immediately join the workforce and start their dream jobs. No matter what you choose to do with your future, I can’t wait to see what amazing things you all do with your lives and catch up with you in the years to come. Today, we embark on the inevitable journey of what comes next after high school. It’s not a distant reality anymore.
It begins here and it begins today. Class of 2020, we are the future. Thank you