The student speakers, including valedictorian Lavanya Goel and classmates Alondra Gomez and Madison Williams-Casey, urged their peers to embrace their individuality as they venture out into the world beyond PHA, "personalizing their own path to success," in the words of Alondra.
Said Lavanya, "Your unique thoughts and perspectives have taught me so much about the world, and I can’t wait to see how you continue to spread your uniqueness in the future."
Madison delivered a powerful closing message: "Wherever you end up next will be a culture shock for most coming from a school with a student body predominantly of color, being first-generation, or coming from a low-income family. You will be faced with tough decisions that will challenge your sense of self. People will tell you that you don’t matter or your identity doesn’t matter. Ultimately, it is your decision whether you want to stand firm in who you are and plant like a tree, or to be knocked over and conform to someone else’s expectations of who you should be."
We are incredibly proud of the achievements of our graduates and their persistence through what has been a very challenging year. We look forward to following their future successes in college and beyond.