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CLASS of 2020: ’Every graduation seems to be a little bittersweet’

Staff Writer
Northwest Florida Daily News
Northwest Florida Daily News

Across the Emerald Coast, top high school students are giving speeches in empty auditoriums in front of cameras that will offer up a digital version of this year’s graduation.

The Daily News invited those students selected to speak at their high school graduations to send their speeches for publication. We hope you enjoy a peek at some of the area’s best and brightest students.

Cade Kootsouradis, Crestview

Crestview High School

Hello, and welcome to Crestview High School’s first ever, and hopefully last, virtual graduation.

I would like to start off by recognizing Mr. Day, his administration, and all of the faculty and staff members, as well as thank them for making Crestview High a truly special place over these past 4 years.

I would also like to thank all of the parents, families and friends watching this wherever they are. The support that you have given us all our lives, and the encouragement to keep pushing, even through the hardest of times, will never be forgotten.

And now, my fellow graduates, welcome to your day — your celebration. Every graduation seems to be a little bittersweet.

Today marks the end of our high school careers, but the beginning of our futures. We are all going to miss the times we shared together, yet there are so many more things to come for each of us.

But to say that this year’s graduation is a little bit more than bittersweet might be the understatement of the decade.

It is true that our year was cut short and we missed out on so much due to an event that no one could have ever seen coming. It is not what we envisioned, but here we are. We made it!

The Covid-19 pandemic was something the world had not seen in the likes of 100 years. But nothing, not even a worldwide pandemic, could ever stop the class of 2020.

Months ago, we chose the following as our class motto: “Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

Who could have guessed how fitting this would be now? It hurts to say, but we all thought that our senior moments were guaranteed. Sadly however, this just wasn’t meant to be.

But when we look back on our high school days, we should strive to remember the good times and cherish the memories that we made, not the ones we missed out on.

Sometimes life hits hard, but as the great Rocky Balboa said, “You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”

And in closing, that is both my wish and challenge for all of you.

No matter how hard you get hit or how many times you get knocked down in life, the important thing is that you get back up and keep moving forward. Regardless of what your path may be following our time here at CHS, always remember that we cannot be stopped.

We always knew that our class would be one to remember. I don’t think anyone is going to have a problem doing that anytime soon.

Congratulations, Class of 2020! We did it!

If your student is a top grad who would normally be speaking at graduation, please send a copy of the prepared speech, a headshot, his or her hometown and the name of the school to wvictora@nwfdailynews.com

We are also accepting parent- or student-submitted photos celebrating your graduate if he or she attends school in Okaloosa, Walton or Santa Rosa counties. Send those pictures to ntomecek@nwfdailynews.com

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