Tanya Manoj – RMHS Salutary Address

Good evening class of 2021, family members, and staff.

We have experienced a lot together from freshman orientation, being fully zoomed out this past year, and at long last our well-deserved senior celebrations – congrats!

As I was writing this speech, I reflected on what we all have in common – is it living in the same town? Is it our shared high school experiences? Is it our resilience in the face of the unexpected? All of these things are true, but what I am most proud of is our class’s deep passion for our individual communities and commitment to make a difference in them.

Over the years, the class of 2021 has found the people and pursuits that we care about most. Many of us joined student organizations, such as drama club, robotics, movie club, or sports teams. While outside of school, others immersed themselves in jobs or family responsibilities. As I look around at all of the graduates, everyone spent their time in high school on different endeavors and within different microcosms in Reading. But by identifying our individual passions, we have found communities to nurture.

That is why the defining trait of our class is how we students rallied together to care for our communities. I have witnessed how everyone got involved to make a difference in something they care about. From the service clubs that wrote letters to lift the spirits of our Reading senior citizens to the class officers who spent their time finding ways to bring the senior class together, the unparalleled dedication of our graduates is inspiring. Individual students and club leaders spent hours putting together initiatives during the pandemic to support the causes and communities that they care about, whether that be organizing food pantry drives or tutoring children. I am awed and super proud of our class’s devotion to our communities.

Jean Vanier once said, “One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals.” By involving ourselves in the world around us— the RMHS class of 2021 embodies this quote.

As we look toward a horizon of new beginnings, finding communities that we belong to and immersing ourselves in them will become even more important. Let’s continue to be curious and driven by those we surround ourselves with. In the future, I hope that you are able to look back on your RMHS experience fondly, remembering the communities that you were a part of and the lessons you learned from them.

We would not have gotten here without the dedication and support of many. Thank you RMHS teachers, you have pushed us to be the very best versions of ourselves. Thank you RMHS staff, you held us together especially during this pandemic. Thank you to everyone who made this gathering possible and ensured that our last few weeks of high school were memorable. And finally, thank you to all of the loved ones present; we definitely could not have done it without you!

Congratulations, class of 2021, and I wish you the very best in all of your future endeavors.

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