Salutatorian Kyle Sha ’23 Speaks at Senior Night

The Class of 2023 gathered for their penultimate time as students for Senior Night on Friday, May 12. Part of the program included remarks from Kyle Sha ’23, Salutatorian for the Class of 2023.

I still can’t believe it. We are just two days away from graduating high school! These past four years have flown by, and I still don’t think I’ve fully processed it yet. At the same time, I’m sure it has felt like a long four years and that some of you are eager to sprint out of here, leaving your high school days behind. Time’s funny like that. However, before we embark on our individual paths, I want to take a moment to reflect on our journey here at MICDS. Because, from my perspective, the class of 2023 has not had a “typical high school experience.” We’ve faced unique challenges and changes that have made our time here unlike any class that has come before and, likely, after.

The first was back in the third trimester of ninth grade when a novel virus started spreading around the world. Little did we know that it would eventually lead to the era of COVID-19. Within months, we were all stuck at home—attending virtual classes, picking up lunches from school, learning how to use Zoom and other online programs, and struggling to stay motivated and engaged. Eventually, when we came back to school, things weren’t any easier, having missed more than a year of high school. At least for me, many of the skills I should have learned as an underclassman were underdeveloped, and school felt foreign rather than familiar. COVID certainly had other less-than-desirable effects as well. I mean, I don’t think any of us will ever forget the sight of a grid of foreheads on our screens at 8 a.m.

Beyond the obvious challenges of growing up, our class has faced a unique hurdle: unpredictability. We have experienced the jarring transition from online to in-person learning, witnessed the shift from trimesters to semesters, endured various changes in our schedules, reluctantly went along with numerous alterations in the dress code, and adapted to the introduction of weighted classes, among other adjustments. I find it hard to believe that any recent class has had to confront so many changes throughout their high school years.

However, our high school experience is not solely defined by the challenges we have overcome. As upperclassmen returning from the pandemic, we have had the rare opportunity to shape the future of MICDS post-COVID. For better or worse, we have redefined how traditions like Turkey Train and Halloween will be celebrated in the years to come. And more significantly, we have had the opportunity to set an example of what it means to be an MICDS student. When we returned to school in junior year, the freshmen and sophomores at the time had not experienced a single year of “normal” high school. In the face of immense adversity, we adapted, we overcame, and in doing so, we set an example for the future.

Of course, adapting to these challenges has been far from easy. At the height of the pandemic, I remember feeling lonely at home and losing motivation towards school. When I came back to in-person learning, I felt disoriented and disconnected, and during the first week of 11th-grade English, I almost failed my first assignment after discovering how behind I was and the increase in the difficulty of the curriculum. In no small part, due to our individual efforts, we’ve all made it to the other side.

But, I, and I have to imagine that many of you here, have to acknowledge that we couldn’t have done it without the support of so many people here at MICDS. So I want to take this opportunity to thank those who have supported me through my last six years at MICDS, and I urge each and every one of you to do the same. This may be the last time you’ll see some of these people, so whether it’s a coach who pushed you beyond your limits, a teacher who spent countless hours helping you understand the material, or a friend who comforted you after a bad day, go tell them thank you.

As for me, I want to thank Mr. B for always being patient with me in calculus class, even when I displayed a shaky understanding of elementary school math. Thank you, Dr. Lim, Mr. Tourais, and Mr. Sadicario, for listening to my never-ending concerns in English and reading through my excessively long drafts. Thank you, Mr. Essman, for being a person I can rely on to say hello and for making the admissions process a breeze. Thank you, Ms. Gioia, for always being an advocate for our class and making sure we got our senior and junior privileges as soon as possible. Thank you to my advisors, Dr. Roth and Mrs. Long, for making those extremely long advisory sessions bearable. And thank you to all the other teachers, coaches, administrators, and staff—you all have made my last six years at MICDS possible and as wonderful as they were.

But most of all, thank you to my classmates in the class of 2023. It has been an honor to grow alongside each and every one of you. Your determination, creativity, and kindness have constantly inspired me to do better academically and to be a better person. As we prepare to embark on our next journey, I encourage all of us to take a moment to reflect on the memories we’ve shared, the challenges we’ve faced, and those who have helped us through high school. We are all about to enter a new chapter of our lives, and what better way to close the last one than with a thank you to the people who helped us write it?

In closing, I’d like to say that it has been an honor speaking to you all tonight. I have no doubt that the Class of 2023 will go on to achieve great things, and I’m so proud to call each and every one of you my classmate. Thank you.