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The class with a vision

Good Evening, Class of 2020, families, and staff. We are all gathered to celebrate one of the major early milestones of our lives: high school graduation. Graduating with a high school diploma is a wonderful tool in this world, one that opens many doors of opportunity for anyone who is lucky enough to have one. This is the stepping stone to our new beginnings and should be recognized for its significance.

Before I get into the official speech, I just want to say a few thank you’s. First, thank you to the teachers and staff here at Norwich Tech who have supported our class in our ambitions. You have given us the resources and foundation we needed to be successful from the moment we entered the building.

Thank you to the parents, guardians, and families who also continued their support for their child in the past four years. It is a big commitment especially when you attend a multi-town high school. Like how many times did your kid miss the bus and they came to you, asking for a ride to school at 6 in the morning, and you just sighed giving in?

And thank you to the Norwich community and business partners who have supported the Class of 2020, your help ensures our success!

Now, that we got the thank you’s out of the way, CONGRATULATIONS Class of 2020 we are finally here! Our freshman year, we were somewhat unsure of ourselves, lost in a new school and apprehensive about what our future held for us.

Over the next two years, we settled in and started making a name for ourselves, “the Class of 2020, the class with a vision." Our class held 5k races and car shows, something that no class at Norwich Tech has ever done before. We have seniors who have gone above and beyond and competed and earned accolades in competitions such as Skills USA, DECA, Brain Dance, and have been more than successful. Such as Narda, Levi, and True who won 1st place in their trade at Skills USA and moved onto Nationals, and Levi also moved onto World, which is noteworthy. Our class is more than impressive; the name we made for ourselves will always be remembered at Norwich Tech.

Then senior year came and has been full of surprises. A pandemic out of all things, like who could’ve guessed, interrupted our senior year; leaving us feeling disappointed and at a loss of control, however, we have made it to this moment. So congratulations for making it here. Some of you are probably ready to get your diplomas to move onto the next step, while some of you are still scared and not ready to leave high school behind. Graduation is a big deal and is the closure many need to move on to the next chapter in life. However, I just want to recognize how our class is just amazing.

We’ve worked hard to fundraise to go on a cruise to Bermuda, to have an awesome prom, to have the best senior year ever, and even though that didn’t happen we are still the best class because we are the class of 2020.

We did monumental things throughout the past 4 years here at Norwich Tech and the memories we are taking but also leaving are unforgettable. I don’t want to leave remembering what we have lost, I want to think back on the good moments. Like do you remember the pep rally from this year when during musical chairs at the last chair, tiny but mighty Chantelle ripped the chair out from underneath some underclassman and secured the win, that was hilarious! Or maybe your shop memories are what you are leaving Norwich Tech with, like when Plumbing and HVAC in previous years after winning field day, went parading through the halls, blowing their horns and yelling about their victory. We should take the funny/good memories with us to remember our years at Norwich Tech.

Many of us are debarking on different paths, whether it be trade employment, military enlistment, college, or taking a gap year to figure things out, whatever it may be I truly believe you will be successful. I may not know all of you personally but I wish everyone the best of luck in their future endeavors because we are the Class of 2020. Let’s make the best of it and let’s start a new chapter in our lives, for all intents and purposes it’s a brave new world out there and if anyone can make the best of it, we can! The future is in our hands and we hold the power to change it.

As Mark A. Cooper once said, “Life has no remote. Get up and change it yourself.” So CONGRATULATIONS Class of 2020, we’ve worked hard these past four years, this is our time to shine!

(Kenna Riley is Norwich Technical High School's Salutatorian.)

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