Principal Johnson, faculty, guests, and my illustrious classmates of the class of 2021, it is with the greatest distinction that I present this speech to you all here today. My name is Maimuna Aden and I call on my classmates to carry on the leadership we’ve accumulated over the past four years. The late President Kennedy once said “If not us, who? If not now, when?” This quote may be small but it provides a huge significance for us all. As Rockets when faced with an issue we stepped up and decided to take charge. Not because we needed to do it, but because we chose to. Whether it be helping a classmate through personal matters to facing the difficulty of racism. We understood that our steps were made to be rules, for our lives were changing for the better.

It is that kind of courage that makes us Rockets. And I advise my peers to utilize this ability to enact change. This speciality of ours has allowed us to transform the course of reckoning and become natural leaders. For one cannot become a leader without facing tragedy. It is only when we are faced with this that change starts to evolve.

In the midst of homework and club activities, we found ourselves standing up to injustice. We executed our First Amendment rights and voluntarily held protests to combat national affairs.

I am here to say we are the innovative generation. We are vastly improving such things within our grasp and angering senators as well. Although they might be criticized we still find a way to make our mark known. The enigma of our actions, the audacity of us to have hope. We knew as students that we had to make an impact that could reverberate on future Rockets. And that we did. So I ask again for my peers to never forget the growth we experienced these four years and to carry on the passage of guidance.

Oh, how wholesome is the power we wield.

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Maimuna Aden is a graduating senior from John Marshall High School.

Read more Rochester graduation speeches:

James Kung: Victory

Sarah Strauss: The future is ours

Zuri Cofer: Explore and take risks

Sonia Teh: You are not alone

Marissa Ding: COVID can't take our Rocket Pride