Members of the Board of Trustees, parents, friends, and relatives, and most importantly, the Ukiah High School Class of 2020, I am honored to be able to congratulate you on this momentous accomplishment. Graduation marks the end of an era for the Class of 2020 and the beginning of a lifetime.
The Class of 2020 has been challenged with impossible situations, and with each new adversity, you found a way to thrive. Throughout your high school years, your class has been through floods, fires, power outages, and now COVID-19. These challenges have brought not only heartache and disappointment, but also tremendous opportunities for creative thinking, ingenuity, and the building of a fundamental character trait that will serve you well in life. Resiliency!
Resilience is not something that can be taught in a class. Sure, you can memorize the definition and use the word in a written assignment. Still, the true meaning can only be felt and built by literally facing adversity and coming out on the other side changed for the better. I know these words are not a consolation for what you have missed out on this semester, but you will be stronger because of this experience. Let this be your power, not your weakness.
A solid foundation of resiliency has formed through all the adversity and challenges that the Class of 2020 has faced. You have figured out a way to harness hope and joy and keep your unrelenting commitment to maintain the traditions held so dearly in the hearts of Ukiah students. Hope and joy are tremendous catalysts that allow us to survive and continue through difficult periods in life, but the Class of 2020 has something special. A quality that we cannot fully comprehend yet because the evidence lies in the future.
As you venture out into life, know that you have something other classes did not. Through this recent experience, you have built the resounding ability to figure out a way through when the situation seems impossible. When life gets tough, you know there are better, brighter days ahead! That is pure gold!
When I think of the Class of 2020, my heart is filled with joy and positivity. You will manage life in ways that can only be imagined! I can’t wait to see what you will accomplish. My prediction is that you will crush our wildest expectations! You truly are our future, and that future is blindingly bright!
Please know that you are all exceptional young adults, and it has been an honor to serve and support you and your families. Thank you for warming my heart! I look forward to hearing about you and seeing where your journey leads you, and how each of you made our world a better place. Class of 2020, on behalf of your teachers, administrators, parents, family, friends, and the entire Ukiah Unified School District community, I congratulate you on your graduation. I wish you much success on your journey ahead.