Today is your Bridge Ceremony... Congratulations! You've made it this far in your academic journey and I am so proud of you, but you still have so much more to learn and explore. I remember the first Bridge Ceremony that I ever attended. It was that of my best friend, Kaly Mabe. She was a year older than me, and it was her turn to walk the rainbow. The pride in her eyes as she crossed the stage, symbolically entering middle school, was an emotion I couldn't wait to experience.
The following year, my Bridge Ceremony came, and I received the most lei's out of my whole class. The upper classmen of the cheer team all threw their necklaces around my neck, passing the torch from them to me. I though they were so grown and mature getting ready to start High School. It's been five years since my Bridge Ceremony,so I suppose that means I'm the grown one now.
I don't think I ever realized how quickly time flies. At one moment, you're crossing the stage to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", and the next, three years have passed and you're walking through the doors of your new school, the youngest, once more. Making the sports team is harder, there's more homework, and a part of you wishes you could just go back to your old middle and elementary school. But then, slowly, you start to pick things up. You form relationships with your new teachers, you build new friendships, you make new memories.
Even though my new memories are special to me, I still look back on my time at Bridgeprep. I look through my old yearbook and remember the Varsity Cheer Team's lock-in, where we practiced till late into the night, then carb-loaded and had a giant sleepover. I reminisce on all the tournaments, whether that be soccer, volleyball, or cheerleading. I scroll through old photos from talent shows and team builders at Busch Gardens.
What I'm trying to say, is cherish it. Cherish all of it. You won't realize until it's too late how important all of these memories will be. Go out for the volleyball team, even if you don't think that's your sport. I didn't even want to go to tryouts, but my mom made me, and then in ninth grade I was able to walk on to my High School's varsity team. Ask them to the dance. Maybe you won't marry them, but this is still an important milestone. The one thing I am most grateful for is the community at BPA. My freshman and sophomore year of High School, I didn't play as many sports, and this has made me realize how much I miss those connections. I really encourage you to truly immerse yourself into anything you can, trust me, it'll mean the world to you in a few years.
Congratulations, class of 2031. I'm so excited to see what you come to make of yourselves. You've got this.