11 June 2014, Washington DC, USA
Rashema lost her father before she was one year old, and in her last two years of school, achieved a 4.0 grade point average while living in a homeless shelter with her mother and two siblings. She was top of her class, and graduated to Georgetown University.
Family and friends. Welcome to Anacostia’s class of 2014 Commencement exercises. The two years I have spent at Anacostia have been wonderful and I have could not have asked for a better experience. I have been taken care of by the best principal, teachers, and coaches in the city. These educators actually care about our wellbeing, it is not just a paycheck to them. I feel as if I have grown into the arms of a second family. They are a security blanket that covers us wherever we are.
During my journey, I have made wonderful friends. Sweating, crying, succeeding on the court, track and the classroom. I have to shout out my family for always supporting me and being by my side. I have to shout out my school for always being available and helping me when I was in a jam. Also for pushing me when I felt as if I was about to give up.
My amazing track coach Ms. Perry was like a mother, sister and best friend to me at the same time. She is always been someone who I could come to for whatever and whenever, no matter the time of day. And when I needed an ear for my problems and advise as well. I love her so much, she is definitely a life changer.
Mrs. Shumerman, our wonderful counsellor, who not only told me to follow my heart, but helped me to as well. I adore her.
Mr Smith, Anacostias excellent DC CAP advisor who helped me get through the tough, frustrating college process without a problem. Without him I probably would not have even applied and made it through. Especially the financial aid portion.
I would also love to thank Mr Wong, Coach June, Coach Cross, Ms Friesen, Coach Strafford, Coach Thomas, Mr Billner, and Mrs Witherspoon for supporting me every step of the way. And I will be remiss if I didn't thank all of community partners and [inaudible 00:01:45] supporters I have gained the past month.
Throughout my journey here, I have learned that time doesn't wait, pity, or adjust for or to anyone. And life does not fail, life is not fair. But despite that harsh reality you must keep striving for success, through the pain, tears and fissures of loves devote.
People say life is short, live it up. I say life is endless, turn up, earn it up, but don't burn it up. Your life decisions lead you to where you end up. For the longest darkness of the struggle I tried my best, but I started to think it would never be over. I started to give up, but then God gave me a sign that He wasn't putting me through this to punish me but to show up the side of me that's resilient, that persistence is a goal of life.
I see a promising future ahead and I didn't do it all alone. I had gracious help for which I will be forever grateful. Before I received my diploma and head off to Georgetown, I just want to leave you all with a piece of advice Class of 2014. Always be who you truly are on the inside. Never be afraid to go out after your dreams. And regardless of the forecast that has been predicted upon us, beat the odds and let the sun shine. The future lies within the reach of our hands and if we keep striving and don't let anyone knock us off our path or deter us from our goals we can do anything we put our minds to no matter what. Resilience, perseverance, discipline, determination, and dedication is the key to your success. Each step we take is paved with possibilities now go unlock the doors to your future.