Graduate of Khalsa Montessori School and Bioscience High School, Phoenix, Arizona.
I don’t remember every moment at Khalsa, but I have a vivid memory of sitting right where you are today, six years ago. I know you’re all sweating (quite literally) to finish those tearful hugs goodbye and move onto to the next phase of your life. Right now, you’re looking back on all of the wonderful teachers, students and friendships that you’ve made. I hope you know how incredibly lucky you are that your parents and caregivers decided to send you to Khalsa.
Khalsa is truly an extraordinary program that challenges each and everyone of you to be your best. The best academically and just as importantly, they teach you to be thoughtful, respectful and responsible. They push you out of your comfort zone and give you the freedom to discover who you are at such a young age. Many of you don’t know anything else, but this is so different from other elementary schools. A Montessori education gives you a step up from the other students that you’ll meet next year. Please don’t waste that! You’ve been given the foundation to rise to the top of your class, the top of your school, to set new records and to learn so much more than you would’ve been able to. You’ve been given the opportunity to excel.
I graduated from Bioscience High School eight days ago. In a few short months, I’ll be headed to the University of Portland to begin college. I graduated as Valedictorian, with a 4.0 gpa and have been offered more than $800,000 in scholarships based on my grades alone. My high school helped me get there, but I credit most of my success to my time at Khalsa. Khalsa taught me to be an active participant and listener. They taught me to overcome challenges and to push beyond even my own expectations. Looking back, I of course remember the many frustrated nights spent on my homework packet the day before it was due, struggling over my classwork after a new lesson and forgetting to look up words in my literature book. Yet all of these struggles helped me to improve as both a learner and as a person.
Khalsa taught me to persevere in my endeavors, especially when I’m having trouble. They taught me to work well with others and to lead a group of my peers. They taught me to be myself and do what I need to maximize my learning. Freshman year, my hand was perpetually raised, to the point where my teachers stopped calling on me to give other students a chance. I have since learned to be more thoughtful, but I still raise my hand often. It is a very valuable skill to learn how to ask questions, especially in a group setting. Many kids keep their confusion to themselves because they’re too afraid to ask.
Khalsa taught me to see the world in a positive light, to give people the benefit of the doubt and to keep an open mind and heart when meeting new people. Some might call you naive for this mindset, I call you strong. Seeing the world positively will help you appreciate all things, big, and small. It will help you keep your focus sharp and clear, in the face of frustration.
I’m so proud of each and every one of you for making it through Khalsa. I know it was a challenge, but you all did it! Take your experiences with you as you embark on new adventures. Keep a positive view of the world. Ask any and all the questions you can. Remember what you learned here, even if you don’t recognize the value of it yet. Who knows? In six years, you could be the one standing on this stage hoping to inspire the next generation of learners.
Thank you all and congratulations.