Last Friday night, May 22, at T.J. Mills Stadium, Sealy High School presented 190 students diplomas in a socially distant outdoor graduation ceremony.
Students were spread out around Mark A. Chapman Field in nine rows of 20 graduates with five yards in between each row. Students maintained social distance before walking across the stage and back around to their row.
Alexia Henley, Sealy’s Class of 2020 Valedictorian, welcomed guests in person and virtually with the first speech of the night and talked about the bonds created between classmates even if some in the audience were ready to leave the town for good after this.
“Remember how we would get together in massive groups, often with people we hardly talk to normally, to study for the hardest tests? That’s how I know,” Henley said of the class continuing to support each other in the coming years. “Together we’ve faced impossible classes, difficult tests and the uprooting of life as we know it. I’ve seen my classmates have the ability to take on anything that comes at us and as we leave here today, we can all take comfort in knowing that we have our classmates and friends to help face life together.”
Salutatorian Khondker Salim took the podium next and urged his classmates as well as the guests to think about how special their lives are while he explained a scenario. Salim said if two million people were to roll trillion-sided dice, the odds of all the dice landing on the same number are the same odds of being born as a human being; one in 10 followed by 2,685,000 zeroes, he said.
Still, Salim’s overall message in his speech was focused on diversity and how five years ago when he immigrated to America from Bangladesh, even though he didn’t know how he would do in school or if he would fit in or who Kanye West was, he knew millions of other people in the world had dreams tied to the opportunities he was about to encounter.
"I knew I was one of the lucky few that I actually got here and that I had to try my best to utilize the opportunities,” Salim said. “As I assimilated to Sealy, I quickly learned that what makes us similar as human beings is a lot stronger than what makes us different. As you move on with your life, I hope you push yourself to meet people from different backgrounds, learn from their ideas and share your own. As evident by our top 10, the power of diversity is undeniable.”
Maddie Goad, the Class of 2020 President, took the microphone next to deliver the class highlights from their time in Sealy ISD but her main takeaway came at the end after a conversation with one of her classmates.
“I was talking with Luke Thielemann about a picture of us from kindergarten, and he said ‘That’s the Maddie I still see,’” Goad recounted. “What he said, made me realize that no matter the achievements we earn or the accolades we receive in our lives after today, we will always remember each other as who we were. Whether it was that first time, 13 years ago, seeing each other in a kindergarten classroom or sitting behind one another just last semester.”
The 190 members of the graduating Class of 2020 were presented their diplomas, albeit socially distanced, replacing high fives and hugs for air fives and big smiles but on Mark A. Chapman Field at T.J. Mills Stadium which Principal Megan Oliver said she was most happy about.
Daniel Ortiz, an honor graduate and member of the top 10 students of the class, delivered the farewell address and said despite all of the changes they’ve encountered, there will only be more change ahead but Ortiz hoped he and his classmates would attack it a little differently.
“Through these last four years we’ve all grown and changed, we worked on challenges and celebrated our victories,” Ortiz said. “Let us never forget how those experiences felt and let their memories guide us as we go off into the real world but also let us realize that although the world around us can change, we too can change it. Rather than simply grow and adapt to changes, I’d like for our class to be the example for others; be the change you want to see in the world.”
Listed below are the 190 graduating members of the Sealy High School Class of 2020:
|MANUEL ORLANDO||HERNANDEZ OCAMPO|
|MANUEL||DE JESUS||PINA VAZQUEZ|