Fun fact: I, Jamilah, was one of the valedictorians of my poorly represented high school (Class of 2017), and I was chosen to say a speech. I have no idea how I managed to say that speech and not screw up; I guess I created my own Sasha Fierce or something. Anyway, saying that speech in front of thousands of people is something I will never live down; it gets brought up whenever I don’t want to talk to a group of people or a stranger, like the guy who had to fix the hole in our wall that the Xfinity guy created. People, who have never met me, recognize me from the videos of my speech on Facebook.
However, it wasn’t the speech I wanted to say. As many people know, I wrote that speech at work on the back of a cheeseburger wrapper in about thirty minutes. Here’s the real speech I wanted to say (maybe the other one was better):
First and foremost, I have to thank my Heavenly Father; I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am without Him. I want to thank everyone in my family- my parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, siblings, and everyone else, including my spiritual great-grandparents and church family. Thank you to all of the teachers who have taught and supported me. I also need to thank my amazing friends: Maria Guillen, Evelyn Garcia, Lizette Feliciano, Alyssa Weakley, and Wilna Fanfan; you guys were there for me when I felt like no one else was. I love you all.
I’m almost done with the thank yous, I promise. I wanted to thank all of the people who were my friends but are no longer. You were in my life for a reason, and you are out of my life for a reason. Lastly, thank you to all the boys I’ve ever liked and have ever liked me; you showed me what to and what not to look for in my future husband.
High school was wild. I focused on my friends and my education. Michelle Obama once said, ‘I never cut class. I loved getting A’s, I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world.’ I was the exact same way, which is kind of ironic because I have developed the nickname ‘Michelle Obama.’ After focusing on my education, never did I think I would still be involved in unnecessary drama and would still get my feelings hurt.
Honestly, I never wanted to be popular, and I’m still not, seeing as many of you probably didn’t know I was graduating with you until graduation practice two days ago. Whenever I heard my name, there was a ninety percent chance that person was talking about Jamila McQueen, but I didn’t mind. I liked being invisible. I liked never being considered as a nomination for Homecoming Queen or any of the senior superlatives; although, I do wish the same people didn’t win everything, but it’s all over now. What we were in high school, the titles were given will not matter in a few years. Bask in the glory while you can, but the real world won’t care what superlative you won. If you think that, this world will chew you up and spit you out.
High school didn’t change me; I changed in high school, and I will change more in college. I am proud of the person I’m becoming. Now, I’m a person who could care less about what people think of me. I faced a lot of hardships and felt a lot of pain through these past four years, and they have only made me stronger. As people say, I’ve ‘blossomed,’ and I am becoming who I was meant to be. I hope all of you guys become who you were meant to be, and I hope to see those people at the reunion.