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Fitch Valedictorian Speech, Samantha Maiolo

Graduates, guests, and Fitch community, my name is Samantha Maiolo and it is an honor to stand here today as the Valedictorian of the Class of 2021.

I wouldn’t be here today without my parents. From a young age, they have instilled in me the importance of a strong work ethic, good integrity, and confidence. As many of you probably know, I am a first generation American and someone that inspires me every day is my mother. My mother is an Italian immigrant who came to the U.S. when she was only 19 years old. Leaving her parents, she moved in with her sister’s family in New York.

In Italy, my mother didn’t have an easy childhood so America was the place for her to create a life for herself- an opportunity that many people from her small town would never get. But, moving to America wasn’t easy. Even though migrating here meant that she would have the “American Dream," she had to work incredibly hard to get to where she is today. She had to learn how to speak English, learn how to drive, work multiple jobs without knowing the language, and learn how to raise children in a country that she didn’t grow up in. Right now, this feels like a full circle moment because my mother didn’t have the opportunity to attend high school.

We, as the Class of 2021, have been very fortunate with our education and have many great opportunities ahead. So, I want this to be your invitation to accept and embrace change. For some of us, the idea of college, working, or the military, is very scary and it’s a new chapter in our lives, but take those risks. Join a new club in college, apply for those higher positions, and above all keep challenging yourself. We have the knowledge and power to become the people we want to be. So, whether you came into Fitch as a West Side wildcat, like myself, a Cutler Cougar or another proud mascot from another school, we leave here today as Fitch Falcons and I know we will soar high and do incredible things. I want to leave you with this, when it becomes difficult, please remind yourself that, tough times don’t last, but tough people do.

I wish you all the absolute best!



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