Perseverance

Gurcharan Singh graduated from The International High School at LaGuardia Community College in June 2010 and will be attending the City University of New York in the fall to study engineering. Gurcharan’s speech is sparked by his humor.

I never understood the meaning of the expression having “butterflies in the stomach”, but now I think I feel it thoroughly.

I am very honored today to address the Principal, the amazing faculty, all the parents and of course this great, talented, diverse Class of 2010. I am proud to be a part of you.

Now graduates, I would like you to take a moment, turn to the students sitting next to you and shake hands……. You have just greeted future doctors, businessmen, soccer players, singers, electric engineers, hairdressers, child psychologists, journalists, actresses,marketeers and pharmacists. And now I can officially say everybody has been touched by my speech.

I still remember that on the first day of my freshman year, I was so quiet and shy that some of you would not believe me now that I am giving a speech. Most of you have been in the same situation. But look at us now, we have grown unconsciously. And when we look back to that freshman year, we might say, “That was me?”

The graduating class of 2010 has shared a lot despite our different languages, cultures and backgrounds. We all at some point did blame it on the 7 train when we were late; when we needed gym credits we all got a little help from our friends; and we all have crossed the racial barriers when it came down to sharing the homework in our productive lounge. Other people might not mingle, but you see we are united and stand together in sharing these survival skills needed to get through high school.

Parents don’t worry, we learned something here, too. We worked hard in our studies, maybe mama-huhu as Carol used to say, but we did. We passed high school classes, we also took college classes and passed the, and, with this, we are one step ahead of other kids in the game. We had internships and did community service. We passed Regents exams. We worked hard with our mentors to finish our portfolios and prepare for our presentations.

Getting all of this work done on top of learning English requires tremendous perseverance. We should carry on this perseverance because this is the hard work that will lead us our future selves. Do you know how many times Alexander Graham Bell failed to get the telephone working and how many years Jay Z worked before getting that Grammy? My point is try your hardest and the day won’t be far when you are going to get what you wish for.

After today, our perseverance will be tested. The world is less comfy outside of IHS, but we have to stand strong and not give up. Let’s remember the very thing our parents came to this country searching for: a better future and for us to have the opportunities they never had. I do want to thank our parents for all the things they have given us: leading us when we were not doing the right things in our life, for being there when we needed them the most. And of course, I want to thank the teachers for all the personal attention they have given us and the help they were, and are, willing to offer; I am sure most of us, have grown close to one teacher or another, whom we consider a friend; well, I proudly can say I have. I want to also thank my counselors, our principal, the staff, all the haters for pushing me to work to my fullest potentials and my ten year old son Kulwinder, and lastly my younger brother (who gave me money to mention him).

Whatever God you believe in, who is watching over us now, thank you.

Thanks especially to the class of 2010 for listening to me and letting me remind you that no class is better than my class of 2010. Thanks for giving me this moment because at the end of our journeys, one day looking back, when you will connect the dots, it will be the moments like this one that will make the end very beautiful.

So best of luck in all of your endeavors and make the best of the interesting and boring, the kind and the mean, the great and the small: whatever you call life.

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