The top two graduates of the Class of 2023 focused on each graduate’s uniqueness and the continuous ability to improve oneself in their commencement speeches to their classmates last week.
Wearing the school’s colors of maroon, black and white, 711 students of Wylie High School’s graduating class walked the stage Saturday, May 27, at the Credit Union of Texas Event Center in Allen.
Hayden Stewart, the president of Wylie High’s student body, gave opening remarks focused on the transition to adulthood after graduation.
“This is the last afternoon of our childhood,” Hayden said. “Tomorrow, we’ll have to wake up and do adult stuff. You won’t see the people who’ve been such a monumental part of your life ever again.”
He further challenged his peers to not forget their high school friends as they move into the next stage of their lives.
“Get back in contact with all the people you faded with,” Hayden said. “One day, you’re going to close your eyes and open them and you’re going to be watching your kid graduate and how simple things used to be. You’ll remember the gossip, bonds and everything else, and you’re going to miss it.”
Following a few student speeches, salutatorian Sereen Elkhalid addressed her fellow graduates on how special each graduate in the class is.
“Each of us are unique, one-of-a-kind individuals. We’re each special in our own way, and it doesn’t matter what classes you took or what you’re doing next year,” Sereen said. “They say it takes all kinds to make the world. Don’t sell yourself short.”
Sereen also urged her classmates to find what makes them passionate and happy while staying true to themselves.
“Don’t aim for riches or societal success; life is too short,” she said. “Find what makes you happy and do that. You don’t have to be famous or do anything or be anybody other than yourself, and the world will be better for having you.”
She continued that her supporting cast was also impactful in shaping who she is today.
“Each of you family, friends and teachers shaped my life and I am forever grateful,” Sereen said. “We are a culmination, a mixture and a wonderful tribute to the influences in our lives. We have been shaped by different experiences and have developed into the thriving young minds of the world.”
Following Sereen’s speech, valedictorian Ronald “Caleb” Smitheart addressed the Class of 2023. During his address, Caleb focused on he and his classmates’ success in improving over time.
“Our being here is proof of our ability to improve in major ways, and I see no reason why we cannot continue to tread on the same path of improvement we’ve been on for the last 12 or so years,” Caleb said. “Our teachers helped us with that, and I would like to thank all my teachers.”
He continued by saying that the same methods to continue succeeding may not justify the costs.
“Each and every one of us is capable of improving and growing more than we have, so don’t stop yourself just because it’s working,” Caleb said. “Striving for improvement is hard, but none of us gave up during COVID or junior and senior years.”
Following Caleb’s address, Wylie High School Principal Bryan Alexander declared the Class of 2023 graduates and they were given their diplomas.
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