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Grasso Tech's Richard Dunn speech

Ladies and gentlemen, staff members, family members, and of course my fellow graduates, welcome to the Grasso Tech Class of 2021 Graduation.

We gather here today to celebrate the accomplishments of all the graduates, for making it through four long years of high school. It certainly was not easy, especially these last 15 months or so, but we’re at the end of the road. And as Indian author Ruskin Bond said, “It's courage, not luck, that takes us through to the end of the road.”

There are many people I want to thank for getting me here, but most especially Mr. Huynh and Mr. Allen. My two shop teachers have helped me to an innumerable extent during my time here at Grasso, giving me great instruction in shop, giving me a plethora of opportunities to grow in knowledge and experience, and just being amazing people in general. Never a dull moment during the shop cycle in the drafting room, from Tyler’s enormous secret santa project to Hayden’s insane SkillsUSA project.

Beyond them, I want to thank my mother for always being supportive, Mr. Zagura and the rest of the health department for being the most personable teachers, Ms. Manning for pushing me beyond what I was used to during junior year, and to Mr. Carpenter for being a fantastic coach on the Rifle team. Everyone mentioned here, and many more, have helped countless students like me grow into respectable people. All of them deserve the highest of acclaim for being such good souls. And so, to all who have helped me in life, thank you.

Finally, to my fellow graduates. Real life still feels like some far off dark fantasy. It feels like we should be in high school for even longer. Though it was no gorgeous thing, our high school career is at an end. We will all need the power to face the real world, whether we face all of the lights of the big city or stay in small towns. As much of a monster as it may be, we cannot be so appalled that we stop in our tracks and cower in fear. The adult world is a devil people have faced time and time again, just in a new dress for us. We will not run away. We will live a hell of a life to say we can. We will not play the blame game with ourselves or anyone else: we won’t get lost in the world. And we will survive, be it in America or anywhere else life takes us. We will reach the end of the road through courage.

Richard Dunn is the Ella T. Grasso Technical High School Class of 2021 Salutatorian.

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