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Grasso Tech's Valedictorian, Seth Kintner

Thank you Mrs. Feeney and everyone in attendance. First off, I want to congratulate every one of you as today is more than a monumental accomplishment. It's almost like January of 2018 was yesterday, being the transfer student coming in at the middle of the year. Acclimating to a new school was difficult and scary but my classmates made it work.

Naya Peck with her energetic self, Leslie Melendez with her kindness, Mireyja Pratts with her jokes, and Nia Wilson with her weekly 3D printing projects. All of these people are the reason I made it through the past four years. Each day was a thrill with something new and it is something I will miss. But now, we must graduate.

Graduating is always something to be proud of but, for us, it's something more. Being the class that's had our high school careers affected the longest by the pandemic is something we will never forget and we will have countless stories to share many years from today. While we lost some opportunities and normality, we have gained resilience. We should be very proud of ourselves because no one else will go through the experience we have.

Now, I want to give credit where it's due. I'll start by thanking my parents for supporting me every step of the way and pushing me past my limits. My dad made sure to remind me everyday about completing my work and my mom made sure I was not stressing myself out too much. I would not be here today without them.

I'd also like to acknowledge all of the graduates' parents and guardians because without them most of us would not be where we are. So Thank you.

Like students, teachers have been affected by the pandemic just as much, so I want to give them a sincere thank you because the environments the pandemic forced all into did not support effective teaching but, our Grasso teachers made it work.

Specifically, I'd like to thank two teachers that have helped me get to where I am today. Firstly, I'd like to thank Mrs. Granatosky, my history instructor and the Interact advisor. She pushed all of her students to be the best they could be and it's something that I will appreciate. The professional skills she has taught me will be something I use for the rest of my life.

Thank you for all the opportunities you have given me and thank you for being my teacher. Another teacher I'd like to thank is one who has had the deepest impact on me, Mrs. Llontop, my English instructor. I can honestly say that it has been a privilege having you as a teacher. The lessons you have taught me are universal and I will never stop using them.

Each day you inspired me to not only be myself but my best self and I would not be where I am today without you. You did more than prepare me academically, you prepared me for life. Thank you for all of the lessons you’ve taught me. I will remember them and you forever.

I was asked to write about the future and as I sat at my desk, I sat there puzzled. For days I thought about what I should say but still, nothing clicked.

Because truthfully, how can I speak about the future when many questions are left unanswered and uncertainty lingers in the air? How can I confidently speak on such a subject?So again, I sat at my desk not knowing what I should say. Then I remembered the saying we were told every day of our high school careers. Make it a great day or not Grasso the choice is yours. Like all of us, I never paid much attention to this because it seemed silly. Having that much control of the day just didn't seem possible as anything can happen. A surprise test is thrown on you that you didn't prepare for or you lose a basketball game against a rival school. How can you control this? So why is this relevant? Because the key to our future was told to us every morning for the past four years. The future is uncertain, overwhelming, and not a walk in the park.

Anything can happen and while that is scary, it's also comforting. Because while anything can happen that means we can make anything happen. We can take every bad or good path and we will still have control in how we react and respond to unexpected challenges. It is our choice because the future is ours and no one else's. So as we depart from high school and one million doors are presented to us as we close this one, let us remember one thing. This is our future and we can make it a great future or not Grasso, the choice is ours.

The only thing left to say now is Congratulations to Grasso's graduating class of 2021 and to those who have helped us achieve this goal. Thank you.

Seth Kintner is the Grasso Technical High School Class of 2021 Valedictorian.



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