Prairie Ridge senior Sammi Kral conquered online school during COVID. In this graduation speech, she encourages her classmates to chase their dreams.

Dear class of 2022, Congratulations! These past four years have been insane. In more than a few ways. 

From going into high school expecting a regular, normal experience, to suddenly hearing that we were going to get some days off of school for this strange thing called COVID?  

Unknown to us at the time, our lives were about to change forever. Because suddenly that break turned into doing assignments online, and then transitioning into a fully digital workspace because we didn’t know when we would get back into classrooms. 

Though my personal experience was a bit different from all of yours, with Prairie Ridge being my fourth high school, and living in England as COVID took control of our lives, we still endured a truly unique experience. 

We had a whole year in high school before TikTok had us all doing the Renegade in our sleep. We learned how to persevere through a difficult environment full of distractions: our phones, our families, our music, and even ourselves sometimes. We learned how to cope through these years of uncertainty and wondering what would come next. What new historical event would we end up living through? 

Despite the challenges that these past few years gave us, we made it through. We are here, in person, ready to graduate. Ready to take on the rest of our lives. Ready to transform all those struggles and hard times into something better. 

Through all of this, I struggled the most with deciding if it was worth it. Was the future worth the late nights, the endless homework, the breakdowns, and the tears? Would my hard work pay off in the end? Or would I remember my high school years as a time of constant stress with little to no reward. 

The answer comes with what you decide to do with it. 

Will you make your future worth it? Will you go on with your life making the same mistakes, or will you make a conscious effort to learn from the hardships and become the best version of yourself you can be? You’ve made it this far. You’ve survived a pandemic! You survived VSCO girls! You survived high school! So what’s stopping you from your goals, your dreams, and your future? 

Go out and get it! 

Love, Sammi