I want to address multiple points today, but I will start with one, and then we can continue onwards to form a line, since a line is essentially just a string of points.
First and foremost, I would like to thank my best friend for being with me for all these years. Four years ago, I remember being apprehensive, but at the same time wanting to know what being another step closer to adulthood was like. These years just passed by so quickly, and we were just bombarded with so many events. But together with my best friend, I learned to have confidence and to not be afraid to show it. Together with her, I learned to be a more affectionate person, and learned to be an open-minded, objective individual. And together with her, I learned how to be a woman, and how to help others to as well.
Now who is this best friend? Well of course, my best friend is Cathedral High School.
Words cannot express how grateful I am to my best friend. She is caring like Sr. Patricia and Sr. Eileen. She is intelligent and knowledgeable, like my teachers. She can be straightforward and unintentionally funny sometimes, like Ms. Lawlor. She is trendy, like Ms. Spagnuolo and her fashionistas. She even has more flexibility than I can muster, like Mr. Cartolano, who can definitely drop it low. And most importantly, she is my beloved sister, like the graduating class of 2015 sitting before me.
All that Cathedral has to offer reminds me of a basket of lemons. And what do you do with a basket of lemons? You order a venti three-pump, skim milk, light water, no foam, extra hot chai tea latte with a twist of lemon at Starbucks...OF COURSE.
It is sad to have to leave you all, but you are approaching something new. At some point in your lives, you might come across failure, family concerns, heartaches, or mental and physical pain. Whenever I experience hardship, I like to think about how my situation could have been worse. So if you ever find yourself struggling, know that there is someone else in this world who is probably struggling with you.
Nevertheless, look forward to what is to come. When you need guidance, seek it, because you are not meant to live alone in this world. Never forget to show appreciation where it is due, because in this fast-paced world today, genuine gratitude can go a long way. I could not have come this far without God, my family and friends, Sr. Deborah, and Sr. Alice, just to name a few people who are sitting with us on this very day to offer even more support. They constantly remind me that we are all called to service. We are called to make this world better, using whichever talents we discover within ourselves, just like our predecessors have, and we are called to do so with the virtues of integrity, humility, and generosity.
You all will meet incredible people, in mind and spirit, of all cultures, faiths, and personalities. But embrace this, since this world is similar to a basket of oranges, filled with dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and an abundance of other ingredients. What do you do with a basket of oranges?
You make delicious orange juice.
Mary Zhuo Ke is this year’s valedictorian at Cathedral High School in Manhattan. This is an edited version of the speech she delivered at the June 3 ceremony at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.