Ebony King is the salutatorian of the UChicago Charter School Class of 2012. 100 percent of her class was accepted to colleges and universities. Ebony was accepted to more than 20 colleges and universities; she will attend the University of Missouri in the fall.
Today, we stand on the brink of a new chapter in our lives. Take a moment to reflect on everything that we have achieved and look to appreciate just how far we all have come.
Our high school years passed in a flurry of activities: courses attended, grades attained, extra curricular activities, social events and lessons learned. Some things have been with relative ease. Many had to work hard and dig deeper to find the motivation to continue to meet the challenges. Perhaps some may have let opportunities pass them by. As a class we did not let that get in the way of the goals we set for ourselves. Our hard work will soon pay off as we gear up for college and become closer to pursing our careers. The support that we have for one another helped guide us to a better tomorrow and built stepping stones that will guide us to follow our next journey. Every one of us is capable of success even when we need that extra push and an outstretched hand. Reflecting back on my years at the Woodlawn Campus, it has been a rollercoaster, but I have accomplished many goals and was kept on track thanks to the wonderful administration and teachers.
I would like to thank those that were by my side no matter the situation. Ms. Baskin, a teacher who pushes your thinking even when you feel that all your ideas are already on the paper. I could go to her with questions, problems, and to receive advice. Ms. Silkey, my mentor and sister, that was there whenever I needed her, especially on my rough days. Even though I met her during my junior year, it seems like I have known her for all four years. Ms. Steele, a woman who makes literature relatable. Her stern, yet compassionate voice will continue to be with me throughout college and I can always remember her motto “start strong and finish strong”.
There was a time in my life when I dealt with a tremendous loss. I did not let that hold me back from becoming this magnificent student that stands before you. My life story is not one that is visible from the outside because I have faced it with a smile on my face. Since my loss, I have received support from my family that has carried me through those difficult moments. My godmother, Mrs. Stephanie Davis, will you please stand? She has shown me that life is full of opportunities and my job is to go after them. One such opportunity was my visit to Malawi, Africa to learn a culture and to build a school to provide others an opportunity of education that, as Americans, we often take for granted.
To our guests, thank you for being here tonight to support us. To my fellow graduates, the class of 2012, wherever you may find yourself and whatever challenges you may have chosen to explore, hold true to what will shape your tomorrows, acknowledge and appreciate what you are today. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.” I want all of you to use your talents and wise minds, take advantage of opportunities placed upon you and remember that no one else can determine your destination but you. I wish you all the best. I love each one of you.