AIJMS SBA President Jaychelle Taitano’s SY 2019-2020 8th Grade Promotional Speech

Håfa Adai Pirate family,

In speaking for the class of 2024, this past year has been one of the best and I am glad to say, “We survived!” Our hard work and efforts finally paid off. I am greatly honored to be a part of the Class of 2024.  

And now as part my last act as SBA President, I am truly proud to offer my sincere thanks to all the parents, friends, family, custodians, school aids, building and lawn maintenance workers, cafeteria cooks, teachers, administrators, and fellow students who have helped us achieve this wonderful goal: our promotion! 

Each one of you has played a very important role in shaping our education and in making Agueda Johnston Middle School a wonderful environment to learn in. You have taught us how to construct math formulas and build hypotheses. You have helped expand our vocabulary and developed our essay writing skills. You have helped us learn about the basic American history. You have encouraged us to stay physically fit. You have ingrained the essential elements of our culture into our education and instilled the importance of keeping it alive for our generation and for the next generation of our island. We cannot forget our custodians and our building and lawn maintenance workers who have worked after our classes until 6:00 p.m. to make sure our entire campus was safe and clean. Nor, can we forget our often unrecognized and underappreciated cafeteria cooks for the many delicious and healthy meals they have prepared and served.  Each one of you has transformed us from elementary to middle school students and has prepared us to start as high school students.

When I transferred in 7th grade, I was welcomed with open arms of kindness, and I quickly made wonderful friends here. Wherever I turned, I was greeted with warm hospitality, as well as, a wondrous education. Like many of you, I remember SBA running around campus trying to figure out the perfect course, timing, and the music for lip dub. As students, we begged our teachers to borrow textbooks just to meet the deadline for our assignments. Some of us even collaborated with one another to construct a model that evenly distributed fish food as members of the fish farm challenge. These were our teachable moments that made connections with our instructors, built memories with one another, and with these relations, we learned great valuable life lessons.  

I have seen us explore and devote ourselves to our passions and grow immensely as a result. For some, our education has helped us discover paths towards our future careers. Our interests are widespread. In our midst, we have artists, scientists, engineers, politicians, historians, lawyers, athletes, entrepreneurs, musicians, and so much more.

 It’s been a long road for each of us. But, I have no doubt that everyone in our class has become a better individual because our dedicated teachers and staff knew how to relate to us. These three years went by fast just like our parents said it would. So I hope with all of my heart, that each one of you has cherished these precious memories because no matter how much you may want to, you can’t come back to middle school. As much as I’ve looked forward to this day, I’ve always disliked endings. But there is a universal truth that we all have to face, whether or not we want to: everything eventually ends.  

No matter who you are, I know that as we mature and graduate from high school and move onto bigger adventures, we will think of those who have helped and encouraged us on our journey. Agueda Johnston Middle School provided the foundation necessary to become successful individuals. I am sincerely grateful to each of you for providing me with the best middle school experience here at Agueda.

And now, Class of 2024, because of COVID-19, I’d like us to take a moment, and imagine us sitting all together side by side.  Please take a few moments to look to your left (pause for 30 seconds).  Now look to your right.  Again, take 30 seconds to do this because this is the last time you’ll see all of our faces together again.  

As of this day, we are no longer kids.  We are young adults, nurtured with wisdom and knowledge, and shaped by experiences and memories.  As we leave our footprints here at Agueda, we continue to embark on a journey towards being future leaders making a difference to make our island, our world, a better place.  As the famous philosopher, Confucious, once said “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.” Class of 2024, congratulations and stay safe!

On the lighter side of things, I wanted to share this with you all.

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