Graduation Speech

Read the speech given by Sylvia Brownlow at Lake Region’s 2024 graduation.
Graduation Speech

Hello, it is a great honor to represent my class of 2024 and Lake Region.

I came to Lake Region as a sophomore, instead of a freshman like most people, but honestly who’s really counting the hybrid year. A couple of weeks into the school year, I remember being in Spanish class doing ice breaker activities because not a lot of people knew each other well after a year of being hybrid, so at least I had that to my advantage. I was nervous, not only because I knew no one, but also because I probably wasn’t the most prepared to be in Spanish 2 but luckily Mrs. D’oLimpio is a miracle worker and helped save me there. The questions we had to answer were something along the lines of, What’s your name? Where are you from? What’s something you like to do? And who’s your best friend? So when the circle came around to me I said, My name is Sylvia, I am from Derby, I like to ride horses… And I don’t really know who my best friend is now. And for a second saying that aloud took me down a bit. But very quickly another voice came up from the room and said, don’t worry I’ll be your best friend. And even though they weren’t exactly serious, it was nice. For me it was a symbol for the community that I was entering. The type of community that when you smile in the hallway you are gonna get one back, or your teacher is going to notice when you seem down and ask what’s going on. Where Mr. Mess or Dougie Fresh is going to say good morning to you everyday as you walk in. Where Mrs. Badertscher is going to help you and your friends in a math class that she doesn’t even teach, even if you can’t spell her last name to save your life. The entire science department is going to help you write a 27 page research paper and help you get your poster printed twice, Camera and Gentler are going to help you shorten your college essay to 650 words, and Mr. Dam is going to get you to always write about a story no matter what the assignment is, and ofcourse it always works. I love the community that I have fallen into here. I take a lot of pride in this school because for me it has never ceased to welcome everybody and anybody who steps inside with open arms. 

For me the first time I felt like I was truly part of this community was during my junior year. I had become our goalie that year and we were entering the playoffs. Our first game was pretty easy going in, but then next had us matched up against the second seeded team, BFA Fairfax. They had a girl who could put a shot in the back of the net from the end line. I’ll spare you the details but, let’s just say good for her. We didn’t score in that first half, but Sakoya, Madison, Indie, and especially Alayna came through and when the buzzer sounded, I had never seen such excitement from a group of girls in my life. The whole team came together in the middle of the field like some kind of magical movie moment. I knew, in that moment, that I belonged here.  This is my team, this is my school, this is my pride. And, believe me, we had the best dance celebration on the back of the bus on the way home. We didn’t win a championship that year, but I replay that moment in my mind every day. 

One thing that I love about Lake Region is its unconditional support for each student no matter what their path may be. Not only has this community been supportive in the world of academics but also in navigating everyday life. I know that many students here have utilized the escape to classrooms or offices of their favorite teachers and advisors, whether it be for a tasty snack and advice from Mrs. Urie or rant to Pastel about everything from class assignments to just life.

I wish I could take the time and acknowledge every teacher and staff member that has made a difference in our lives over the past 4 years but I’m sure people wouldn’t be too happy if I stayed up here that long to blab. So I just want to thank everyone, because you made our highschool experience what it was, even through the rough of the pandemic. This community at Lake Region is so rich in amazing people and it has truly been one of my greatest honors to represent our school’s name on my chest and represent it now in speech. We are who we are because we came here, whether it was a choice or it just happened to be where you ended up. We are all tied together by the time we have spent here, and none of us would be the same people we are today if it wasn’t for this school. We came here as little lumps of clay being sculpted by each moment we spent together as peers and being nurtured by our teachers. Whether we feel ready or not, we have been given the tools to take on the next step of our lives, we are creative, intelligent, and whether we like it or not everyone has all of those folio task skills. What has seemed to be tedious or not worth the effort, has taught us to work hard and be resilient. And tomorrow, in a year, in five years, we will remember those tools. We will use them to communicate our ideas, to create new amazing things, and solve the world’s problems, and really never stop learning. We will fail, and we will try again until we succeed.

It felt like just yesterday I walked in those doors with confident eyes and a scared smile behind a mask, but today we all leave with full and bright faces ready to take on the next journey. I am proud of us for all that we have done, and all that we will do. At the end of the day, We are LR.


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