Class of 2019 Salutatorian’s Address

On Friday, May 17, the Class of 2019 gathered for one last time before Commencement. At this event, appropriately called Senior Night, our Salutatorian Sonya Shafqat ’19, addressed the gathered audience of students, parents and teachers. She shared her remarks with us.

Sonya Shafqat’s Remarks

Hi everyone. Class of 2019, we’re almost there. I think we can all agree it’s been a long four years but it’s hard to believe that we’re just two days away now. Looking back, all the memories have kind of blurred together, so I figured I would try and run through the last few years of high school with some truly unforgettable highlights.

To begin: 9th grade. Mostly, I remember sitting upstairs in Brauer where it felt like I really couldn’t be farther from this stage (a stage I never thought I would ever be speaking on in front of so many people). I remember squishing onto the ends of lunch tables on the “freshman” side of the cafeteria because crossing the imaginary border to the other side was too scary. I also can’t forget taking the hardest class I’ve ever taken at MICDS, 9th grade science. I still have no idea how to program and am kind of traumatized from that experience. Also, who can forget Okonkwo and all the yams.

On to 10th grade. That was the year they almost canceled school because of whooping cough going around. Good times. We also can’t forget the amazing school dances like Homecoming where the fire alarms went off like eight times, but then we’d all go back into the lunchroom really sweaty to sing Sweet Caroline. Also, all those fun Safe Connections visits where we learned about consent and how it’s like ordering a pizza. I can say, that was certainly memorable.

Eleventh grade. That was a rough year. Amidst all the SAT/ACT testing, AP classes always kept us on our toes and sleep became less and less of a priority. Staying up all night making mind maps about Milkman and his questionable relationship with his mother ensures we will never forget reading Song of Solomon in 11th grade English. I also learned T3 that Ms. Gioia really really wants us to sign out before going to lunch.

Twelfth grade was by far the most exciting yet emotionally strenuous year for me at least. I definitely cried multiple times about college and how horrible the whole process was, making my parents question my sanity at times. I began to forget what a late start was around April because 7:15 May Day practices were just so fun. Senior year, I skipped my first class. Granted it was ceramics and I did tell Mr. Heinemann I was skipping class before I actually left so I don’t know if that actually counts. I also feel like our class group chat got a little more intense this year when it came to choosing a senior skip day and planning a prank. But seeing everyone holding their college flags a few weeks ago made me realize how much we’ll miss each other next year.

So what comes next? College. It may seem scary for some of us because everything’s changing. New people, new city, few familiar faces. But to be quite honest, it feels like if we can get through high school we can get through anything. That may be an exaggeration, but we’ve clearly gone through a lot in high school. But even when we were at our lowest, we found a way to pick ourselves up again. And we certainly couldn’t do it without the help and support from our amazing parents, siblings, teachers, coaches and each other. Finally, I wanted to say, with college right around the corner, we will face many uncertainties, but “uncertainty” is just another word for “opportunity” and I know we’re going to do some amazing things in the years to come. So, congratulations Class of 2019. It’s time to start the next chapter of our lives.