Valedictorian Cynthia Jacobs gave the following speech during eighth-grade graduation on June 7, 2019:
Good evening to all family members, guests, teachers and administrators and, most importantly, my fellow graduates.
I was completely clueless when asked to write a valedictorian speech for graduation. How do I cram a lifetime of precious memories into a three-minute speech? How can I express the love I have for this school in a few words? How can I ever say goodbye to my dearest friends?
Before addressing my message, I would like to share with you one of my favorite Bible quotes, Jeremiah 29:11. It reads, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." To the graduating Class of 2019, God has a plan and purpose for each and every one of us. Despite the different paths on which we embark today, we must always remember that we are not merely doing this for ourselves, but we are living our lives to proclaim the glory of God.
This evening, I stand in front of you as the valedictorian of the Class of 2019 purely because of God's guidance and the numerous blessings he has showered upon me throughout my middle school career. Through the past 11 years at Transfiguration Academy, this school has come to be home, and everyone at Transfiguration has become a major contributor to my life and a part of my family. Transfiguration has not only played a vital role in my academic success, but it has molded me into the person I am today, provided me with an excellent learning environment and enabled me to create unbreakable bonds that I will cherish forever. Although our time here is coming to an end, as young birds spread their wings to emerge gleefully from their mother's nest, we are ready to step foot into the real world and make our own, unique change. Tonight, on behalf of the Class of 2019, there are many people to thank, those who have guided us, supported us and stood by our side at times of adversities.
First and foremost, we thank God for protecting us under the shadow of his wings, for blessing us with beautiful families, long-lasting friends and supportive teachers and, most importantly, for granting us the opportunity to attend this school and create valuable memories. Next, we thank our families, those who serve as the radiant source of light amidst all darkness, our inspiration that helps us reach great heights, and the people whose love and prayers will always follow us wherever we go. I can't fathom what I would do without my mom and dad, for they toil day and night to provide me with a good education. I attribute my accolades, successes and triumphs to their love and prayers. I extend my sincerest thanks to all the parents gathered here tonight, for it is because of you that we have reached thus far, it is because of your hard work that we are who we are today. I express my gratitude to the teachers and administrators of Transfiguration. Thank you to all who have helped us grow academically and spiritually, thank you for teaching us and providing us with the skills and knowledge we need for the future, and thank you for putting up with us despite our vexing behavior.
Last, but not least, I thank my fellow classmates from the Class of 2019 for making these past few years the best and most memorable years of my life. Today, although we are going our separate ways, we will never be able to forget the bonds we have formed here, the memories we have created and the special feeling we get by being united together as a family. In the future, no matter where you are, what field you work in, what occupation you choose, remember that you can do all things through God who gives you the strength and power to move on. The trek ahead is long and strenuous. There are bumps, cracks and ridges along the way, and at these times, although you may feel like giving up and losing grasp of hope, do not be downcast. Instead, look back and see how far you've come, the obstacles you've conquered and the people you have met along the way that positively impacted your life. Embrace the journey and, despite how arduous and demanding it may seem, when one door closes, another will always open. I conclude my words with a meaningful quote by Mahatma Gandhi: "A burning passion coupled with absolute detachment is the key to all success." My fellow graduates, despite the different paths that lie before us, I hope that all of us will be able to follow our passion and, most importantly, I hope that we will be able to strengthen our faith, enlighten our minds and transform hearts no matter where we go. Thank you.
The salutatorian speech from Layla Libanan follows:
Good evening, my name is Layla Libanan, and on behalf of Transfiguration Academy eighth-grade Class of 2019, I would like to welcome you to our graduation ceremony.
When I was asked to write this speech, I wondered what to write about. Then, I thought about the meaning of the word "transfiguration." According to the dictionary, transfiguration is "a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state." In reading this definition, my eyes fell on the word "change," and l thought about how it related to my journey here at Transfiguration. At Transfiguration Academy, I have transformed into a different person. However, I was not the only one who changed. Rather, our whole class changed as people. We all lived up to the meaning of the word "transfiguration."
Tonight, our class is saying farewell to a school that played a pivotal part in our lives. No matter how long we've been in Transfiguration, whether it was at the beginning of eighth grade or since Pre-K, we have definitely changed.
When I came to this school in third grade, I remember being really apprehensive about attending Transfiguration. On top of that, I was also very shy about performing in front of others. However, as years and months passed, I grew more comfortable with the teachers and students here, particularly my classmates. I made worthwhile friends and blossomed especially when it came to performing in front of others. Drama Club and International Night were two programs that gave me the confidence to overcome my stage fright. Without these programs and the support of my teachers and friends, I would not be who l am. I am very thankful.
When I was younger, I would be excited when I thought of graduation-wearing a cap and gown, walking down the aisle and receiving my diploma. But now that it is happening, l wish I could just go back and relive the many adventures and wonderful memories I experienced. Our class sure made a lot of them.
On behalf of my classmates, I would like to thank our teachers for their generosity to teach us the knowledge to not just become better students but be the best we can be. And most of all, thank you, Transfiguration Academy, for changing us all and providing us with experiences we will cherish for years to come. We are most grateful!
"Science Fair Success"
Congratulations to three of our students for earning top prizes at the Bergen SciChallenge! The competitive science fair, which is open to middle school students in the surrounding area, was held June 1 at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack. The goal of the fair is to instill a passion for the scientific endeavor in future young innovators. Categories included: Computer Science, Biology, Plant and Animal Science, Engineering, Earth Science, Environmental Studies, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.
This year, eighth-grader Sarah Basil won 1st prize in Environmental Studies, eighth-grader Cynthia Jacob took 2nd place in Plant and Animal Science, and seventh-grader Caroline Tharakan won 3rd prize in the Physics category. Well done!