Fireworks, Teary Eyes, and a Beautiful Day: Class of 2023 Leaves M-A with a Bang

3 mins read
Students walk through a ‘tunnel’ lined with cheering staff

This Friday, the Class of 2023 said farewell to M-A. Graduates entered the ceremony in a makeshift tunnel lined by teachers, staff, and family cheering them on. Senior Class President Ishita Mishra and Senior Class Advisor Jocelyn Lunt briefly greeted their classmates before Estrella Villa Lobos, Jackson Bryman, and Jacqueline Nassiri gave senior speeches. 

Villa Lobos’ and Nassiri’s emotional speeches commemorating their experience as children of immigrants and thanking their families brought tears to everyone’s eyes. 

Villa Lobos, switching between Spanish and English throughout her speech, said, “Gracias a nuestros padres que nos dieron consejos que no queríamos escuchar. Gracias por todo el apoyo que nos han dado y los sacrificios que nos han hecho. Vamos a seguir haciéndolos orgullosos.”

Thank you to our parents who gave us advice that we didn’t want to hear. Thank you for all the support that you have given us and the sacrifices you have made. We are going to continue making you proud. 

“Class of 2023 we did it. I know it may be scary but this is a chapter in our lives we needed to experience to move on to the next. Becky G once said, ‘Where we come from will always be in our hearts, but where we go—that is up to us.’ It may be a lonely road to pursue things you were never taught because we’ve been told *que no somos ni de aquí ni de alla. As a 200%-er like Becky G, I pride myself in loving two languages and representing two flags **porque si vale la pena,” she added.

*we don’t belong here or there.

**because it is worth it

Nassiri said, “Immigrants aren’t just anyone. We are survivors and thrivers. The immigrant mentality built into [my parents] and engrained in me is inside all of you. We all have the desire to build a better future and to work hard for comfort and success for ourselves and our families. We must all keep learning.”

A brief reprieve between the teary-eyed speeches, Bryman offered some comedic relief with his speech full of amusing anecdotes. Nonetheless, he still left his classmates with a thoughtful message, urging them to challenge themselves. He said, “Whether we have experienced this flavor of suffering or will do so in the future, we will encounter the absurd and we cannot avoid the absurd forever. Every day around every corner of our future we may find ourselves in confounding ludicrous laughable situations. And we will have to do something about them. May I offer the most difficult way out? That path of most resistance?”

After the seniors, Losekoot gave his own speech, complementing the graduating class’ joy and their devotion to changing campus for the better. He said, “I admire your willingness to stand up for what you value. You have stood up for Jewish history and voices. You have stood up against anti-semitism. You have educated all of us about the value of recognizing each of our students with the pronouns they prefer. You fought for gender-neutral bathrooms. You have organized student protests so that all of us are treated fairly in the community. I am impressed by your presence, your voice, and your own sense of value. I also admire your curiosity and eagerness to grow. And perhaps most importantly, I admire your joy. I have never seen a year where students have celebrated each other so well.” 

Losekoot also commemorated the five staff members leaving M-A this year, notably Pamela Wimberly, who is the longest-serving member of the M-A community. 
For the seniors’ class song, the M-A choir performed “I Lived” by One Republic. Ryann Barnes also sang the sentimental “Slipping Through My Fingers” accompanied by sophomore Will Knox on guitar. 

Graduates received their diplomas from various teachers, and as the ceremony went on the sun emerged from the clouds. Families celebrated in various ways, from excitedly waving flags and blowing confetti poppers to blowing air horns to even setting off small fireworks directly outside of the field. 

On the ceremony, graduate Amari Bailey said, “I was overwhelmed with emotions and I’m just excited to end the school year in such a great way.”

As a last message to the M-A community, graduate Noor Skhiri advised, “Don’t procrastinate. Ask for help when you need it—I promise you your pride is not going to get hurt. It’s better to ask for help than to fall behind.” 

Bailey said, “Don’t lag on your homework, do everything you can do, do not be disrespectful to your teachers—they will clap back at you one day—and just enjoy your M-A experience as best as you can. Don’t let anyone try to hurt your feelings or make you feel like something that you’re not.”

Author’s Note: If you would like to see more photos email me at 810717@seq.org—-I took plenty!

This is Sarah's third year in journalism. She loves writing in-depth pieces about problems in our community, school, or society and advocating for various solutions. Outside of journalism she enjoys reading, baking, spending time in the outdoors, and playing with her dog.

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