Volcano Vista Salutatorian Onamma Edeh filled in admirably for Valedictorian Evelyn Pinon at Volcano Vista High School’s graduation ceremony Saturday morning at Tingley Coliseum.
Edeh gave an impressive commencement address, which touched on the difficulties students faced during the pandemic and was well-received by her classmates and onlookers.
Here’s a transcript of Edeh’s speech.
“I am going to try to keep this short because I know we have so many speeches today. Good morning, I am Ona Edeh, and I am this year’s Salutatorian at Volcano Vista High School.
“I want to give a shout-out to our valedictorian, Evelyn Pinon. Let’s all give her a round of applause. I want to first start by thanking my family, friends and teachers because I could not have done it without their support. Most importantly, I want to thank the most important women in my life: my mother and sister who have been the perfect role models. And I would forever look up to them. None of us actually thought this day would come.
“When I first heard that we had 165 days left of school, I was counting the days, hours, minutes, seconds and milliseconds, but the day is finally here. During those last 165 days of school, I drowned myself in the AP classes and clubs I attended every week during lunch. And looking back now I wished I had cherished those last days. Because I know now more than ever, that nothing lasts forever, and that is what makes memories precious because it ends.
“High school was not like how many of us dreamed of. It did not come with singing and dancing, and I will never forgive ‘High School Musical’ for setting my expectations that high. But high school wasn’t all too bad; some of us learned how to drive, got our first jobs and cars. And even met our lifelong best friends. It was also filled with corny jokes, especially from Mr. Finn … and knowing that you can always run to Mr. Woods’ room for help.
“But with the sunshine comes the rain. On the days it was tough, it was tough. Waking up every morning wasn’t easy, and we cared more about passing than learning. We were living in a routine like robots, pleasing the people around us just to survive the day. And that was before the pandemic!
“Two years ago, our world was flipped upside down. We lived in fear and isolation which led to a lack of communication and a lack of understanding of others in an already divided nation. So I dare anyone to say that we didn’t try!
“Even though we’re all graduating together, we’re all at different stages of our lives. Some of us have it completely under control and others are scared of what’s next after high school — even myself included. I may be this year’s salutatorian, but I am no better than the rest of you guys here. I am just as scared, excited and eager to see what the future offers. Yes, our hopes and dreams may change and even fail, but at least it was ours to pursue.
“After everything we have been through these four years, there is no way we can give up now.
“If there is one thing I have learned, it is that we have a lot more to learn. This part of our lives is over, and it has been great. Great to be a Hawk.”