Meet the 2024 Graduation Speakers

1 min read

As the senior class inches closer and closer to graduation, many are excited to hear student speeches at the ceremony. Here is a short background and summary of the topic for each speaker for M-A’s Class of 2024.

Jace Furman

Jace Furman is interested in acting and activism. He was President of M-A’s Drama Club this past year and a prominent member of M-A’s theater productions. He is also a prolific environmental advocate, working with the Youth Climate Ambassadors and on the Associate Board for Plastic Free Restaurants, as well as joining our school district’s Sustainability Committee.

Furman’s speech is about the wide gap between high school and the time that comes after, the fear that comes with such a gap, and his ways of coping. “Graduation symbolizes the transition from childhood and adulthood,” he said.

Derick Kennedy

Derick Kennedy is known for being outgoing, from being a two-time class president to a four-sport athlete. At the same time, Kennedy still finds the time to complete schoolwork and hang out with friends. He wasn’t always this way, however. Going into school, he had first planned on being unobtrusive and hiding. 

Kennedy’s speech is about how, once he decided to be himself, he was quickly able to have an incredible time in high school. He said, “I got to meet people I never would have met before.”

Camila Leiva Ferrera

Camila Leiva Ferrera is radically different as a person from when she first started at M-A. A Honduran who immigrated to the US in the summer of 2021, right before freshman year, with no English language experience, she had a large hill to climb if she wanted to make it to graduation. 

On her journey, she found an ‘in’ in swimming, playing from her sophomore year to the end of this season, making connections with her teammates and her coaches, and becoming a swim instructor. Finding that ‘in’ is the subject of Leiva’s speech, as well as the change from the beginning of school to the end.

Juliana Ventura Gonzalez

Juliana Ventura considers her experience as one average to the students of M-A. She was part of the Asian and Chinese Culture Clubs and the Latinos Unidos de M-A Club, and was also an AVID student.

Her speech is about the mundane struggle: of her mother, who worked hard every day to help her succeed even when Ventura thought herself hopeless; of her teachers, who day after day gave her the space and hand she needed to succeed; and of herself, ultimately managing to put herself together, beating her self-imposed barriers, and making it to the other side of her high school career.

Brian is a senior at M-A with a storied history of journalism. His favorite stories to write are about school, local and state policies, and politics. He enjoys creative writing, and plays chess in his free time.

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