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Read the Kingsbury Valedictorian Speech that Highlights How Communities Shape Us

Mariela Sosa gave her Kingsbury High valedictorian speech in both Spanish and English, and spoke of the role community has played in her life.

Mariela Sosa graduated last month from Kingsbury High School as valedictorian of her class. Mariela is an outstanding student, a volunteer at Streets Ministries (next door to her school), and a great daughter. But like most teenagers, she has struggled with finding her place in her community, and with choosing the best path forward. 

When she gave her valedictorian speech to her class, Mariela touched on some of these moments of struggle and indecision. She highlighted the paths she navigates as a child of immigrants, and gave her speech in both Spanish and English to ensure that her family and community were part of the moment.

Take a minute to read Mariela’s words to her classmates as she reflects on what it means to thrive in the place where you are.

Good evening everyone. On behalf of the Class of 2021, I welcome family, friends, faculty, and alumni.

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who is present at this very special event.

Buenas tardes a todos. En nombre de la clase del años escolar 2021 les quiero dar la bienvenida a familiares, amigos, y facultad.

This school year has been rough. Looking back, never in a million years did I imagine that I’d live through a pandemic, let alone be standing here as your valedictorian! It is an honor to be representing my graduating class and I would like to acknowledge our resilience through this very unusual school year. From having to sit in front of a computer for 7 hours, not being able to play sports, nor see friends, and having to turn what seemed to be an infinite number of assignments. Despite all the things we went without, we’ve managed to persevere and be here today and for that we deserve a round of Applause!

Este año escolar ha sido muy difícil para todos. Al recordar cuando commence la preparatoria jamás imagina que viviera tras una pandemia y mucho menos que estaría aquí frente a ustedes representando mi case. Es un honor para mí poder representar a mis compañeros y por eso me gustaría reconocer nuestra resistencia a través de este año escolar ya que hemos teniendo sobre llevar muchos obstáculos. Por eso merecemos un fuerte aplauso.

Before entering high school, I always thought that the only way I could better myself was by attending what people considered a better school. I remember begging my parents to let me to go to a different high school because I just yearned for a different experience and this is coming from a person whose gone to Kingsbury her whole life. My mother, being the cautious mother that she is, would always say she was too scared to drive out of the neighborhood, and my dad would worked long hours. Although I was pretty bummed out that I would not be able to transfer schools; During the last conversation we had about the subject, I remember my dad consoling me by saying “a Star shines wherever it goes.” At that moment, I felt as if my whole perspective in life changed. My father was right, it would be my drive and determination that would take me where I wanted to go, not some school name or mascot.

Mariela is pictured here (at right in orange) with Kingsbury Elementary students who participated in the STREETS Smart program where she volunteered during high school.

Antes de comenzar la preparatoria siempre pensé que la única manera de mejorarme seria asistiendo a lo que muchos consideran mejores escuelas. Recuerdo pidiéndole a mis padres permiso para ir a una nueva escuela porque deseaba una experiencia diferente y esto viene de alguien que ha asistido a Kingsbury toda su vida. Mi madre siendo la mujer precavida de siempre me decía que no quería manejar tan lejos. Al igual que mi padre se negó porque tenía que trabajar largas horas. Aunque estaba un poco triste que no iba poder transferir escuelas, recuerdo mi padre consolándome diciendo “Una estrella brilla a donde quiera que va.” Y fue en ese momento que mi perspectiva cambió. Mi padre tenía razón, no sería el nombre de una escuela lo que me llevaría a donde yo quisiera llegar, sino mi anhelo y determinación.

Una estrella brilla a donde quiera que va—
a star shines wherever it goes. 

In her time as a after-school program participant and volunteer at STREETS, Mariela explored culture and community service.

I quickly learned that no one can do more for you than yourself. Had I not been here I would have missed the chance to meet all my great teachers and friends who have been so influential to me. I also wouldn’t have been able to be part of my cross country team nor work alongside STREETS Ministries aiding such unique 2nd and third graders grow academically while at the same time creating strong bonds with them. Thank you STREETS Ministries for giving me the opportunity to contribute to my Community.

Pronto aprendí que nadie puede hacer mas por ti que tú mismo. Si yo hubiera asistido a otra escuela no hubiera tenido la oportunidad de conocer a tantos amigos y maestros admirables que han sido tan influyentes para mi. Al igual no hubiera conocido al personal de STREETS Ministries que me Han dado la oportunidad de desenvolverme en mi comunidad ayudando a estudiantes del segundo y tercer grado crecer académicamente creando amistades en el camino.

Thank you Gloria Carrero and Eliazar Sosa! Although it may seem as if I don’t ever listen to your advice, your words are always in my head. Thank you for giving me values and teaching me how ALWAYS to be humble. I know life hasn’t been easy for you too, considering you came here having no knowledge of what the North had in store 23 years ago, but despite ALL barriers, you two ALWAYS managed to make my education my main concern. If anything, we should be proud of y’all not me. Lastly, Thank you both for always reminding me of where I came from and how I should always embrace my Mexican roots.

THIS ACCOMPLISHMENT IS NOT MINE BUT YOURS.

Mariela works side by side with Vannia, coordinator of the mentoring program at STREETS.

Últimamente y de mayor importancia les quiero dar las gracias a dos individuales en la audiencia mis padres. Si me hacen el favor de ponerse de pie, Gloria Carrero y Eliazar Sosa. Aunque piensen que nunca les hago caso, siempre llevo sus consejos en mi mente. Gracias por darme valores de vida y enseñarme a siempre ser humilde. Se que la vida no ahí sido fácil para ustedes considerando todo lo que tenían que sacrificar y ajustar para nosotros, sus hijos, pero a pesar de todo: cada obstáculo, cada dificultad, cada lágrima ustedes siempre hicieron mi educación mi mayor preocupación. Nosotros deberíamos estar orgullosos de ustedes no de mi. Gracias por recordarme de donde soy yo y que siempre debería estar orgullosa de mis raíces mexicanos. Este logro no es mío sino de ustedes!!

This is it. This is probably going to be the last time we’re ever in a room together and although I didn’t get the chance to meet most of y’all, I wish every single one of you success and harmony. We have so much ahead, so much more to face, so much more to do, so much more to learn and experience. It’s just beautiful how life works.

Tonight belongs to the class of 2021!!!!!!

MAY YOU ALL SHINE WHEREVER YOU GO!

 

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