May 19, 2024

Class of 2022 Graduation

From coming into high school in 2018, to their very last walk in South High, the class of 2022 has finally graduated. The celebration took place on May 16th, 2022 at Charles Koch Arena where Angel Hernandez and Ellie Vizcarra-Bedoy gave the class speeches.

Before I begin, as we all know, Covid Affected everyone and everything in our everyday lives. May we please have A moment of silence for those that were lost and could not attend today’s celebration.  Thank You.

Good evening class of 2022.  My Name is Angel Hernandez, and I will be one of your class speaker this evening.  I’m thankful for the opportunity and blessed to be here tonight.  Now, as I commence my speech on this beautiful afternoon, I want my fellow classmates to look around themselves and understand something, whether you were a 4.0 straight A student or even a D and F student like me, I want to Personally Congratulate everyone in these gowns, because one way or another, we made it.

4 years of hard work for this day to approach upon us, and here it is. Can I please get a round of applause from the audience for the class of 2022 Wichita South High Graduates?!

Although we would want to take full credibility of pushing ourselves across this very stage tonight, I believe we cannot stand here proudly today and say we made it without the help of our teachers, School staff, friends and even family members. please let me get one more round of applause for them as well.

Now, Let me begin my High-school story. (2018-2019) Freshman Year.  Most of us are 14 to 16 years old entering a school of unknown hallways, and students.  As for me, all I know about high school up to this point is that I got four years left to go.  You see four years may have seemed like a long time to Us, but it’s nothing.  I Am no doctor that can tell you the amount of time we as individuals have left on this Earth, But I am Someone that understands the importance of patience.  You see as freshmen’s; we want to try everything at once.  It makes sense because There are many new opportunity’s given to us as high schoolers. There are our first football games, participating in our school activities, and there’s even the opportunity to meet new people.  Which may sound scary at first, but I believe it is the best opportunity given to freshmen every year because while some may think “these people are just my classmates I’m going to school with” I see the future in these students.  Class, we are the future of this nation. Whether you can see the vision I see or not, we are. Do not enter collage with the mindset of “these are just my classmates”. You must enter with the wisdom I will share with you today. Starting with this.

Your net worth, meaning the amount you have- is based on your network.  The more people you meet in your life will determine the amount you have. Do not be afraid to have new conversations with people, as for these conversations can lead us to open new Doors. That feeling of anxiety we felt when we first entered the building for the first time or feeling when we speak to new people/ is perfectly normal and fine.  It was okay for you to be scared then, and I’m standing here proudly in front of everyone to say it’s also okay for you to be scared now.  Nobody can have all the answers in one day, take it day by day as we all have been from the minute, we walked inside the building as freshmen’s…till now.  (2019-2020) Next came Sophomore Year. Everything was more or so the same.  Some of us outgrew some friends while others met new ones. Then came along spring break.  Boy when I got that phone call home saying no more school, you could believe I was excited.  Until I realized what was coming up ahead. You see, The rest of My sophomore year is a blur to me.  Therefore, I cannot speak much on it because it was cut short. All I knew at the time was that school was now over.  (2020-2021) Junior year is Here, except it’s not.  We were handed a computer and expected to pass.  We had nights of stress trying to turn in assignments before the due date. Teachers of ours-even more stressed than before trying to learn and adapt to our new ways of learning. I will not stand up here and say it was a smooth sailing year because the world knows it was not.  But what I will say is if we can get through that, just imagine What we as students can get through in Life. Finally, Senior year is Here. (2021-2022) We got rid of online learning and were back face to face. As I entered the building, I quickly memorize familiar faces in the same halls I once walked and roamed 2 years prior. Only difference between now and then is I entered South High with a greater mindset than before knowing that if I made it this far, what’s stopping me from finishing? You See, my dad always told me, “Never start something and end it halfway, always do it right and finish strong the first time so that you don’t have to do it again”. I hold these words close to me because there were times that I had to retake a class because I did not finish strong. I also know my dad is in this building right now and must be proud that his son stands here In front of thousands and was able to share his story, finish strong, and graduate. We may not have been able to experience high school the way others have, but at least we can still graduate together. Class of 2022 I leave you with this, anything worth starting is worth finishing. Do not allow anyone to belittle your dreams,  Do not let the hate of others dictate your future or decisions.  You are in full control of your future, and it does not start tomorrow, it starts the minute you join me on this stage and walk across. Just because we graduate today should not mean we should stop learning. The world is full of people with education, find these people and learn from them. As human we will make mistakes, do not be so harsh on yourself as for these mistakes are the very one thing that teaches us how to improve. Do not worry about situations that already passed or haven’t yet come to existence. Always live your life in the moment. They call it living in the present because it’s the gift of life that allows us to create and achieve whatever our minds can think of. Your time on this planet is very limited and time spent worrying is time being spent. The one thing warren buffet has over all of us students in this building are his billions, but the one thing we have more valuable than his money is our time. Confucius once said “Everybody has two lives, and the second one starts when you realize that you only have one.” No matter how old you are in this room, begin your second life today.  Be positive in negative situations. Everyone and everybody will have a story to tell, but it’s up to you to start writing it by living it. You are your own Author in the book of life that you will create. Use your weekends to build your dream life, rather than wasting them trying to escape the life you have now.  Be patience with everything and never rush anything. We are south High titans today and we will be south high titans tomorrow. Never forget who you are and where you come from no matter where life takes you. And last but not least… You must Dream as big as possible with no excuse… because it’s free. Ladies and gentlemen, My Name is Angel Hernandez and I am blessed and honored to be a Wichita South High class of 2022 Graduate, Thank you. 

Angel Hernandez, Class of 2022
Angel Hernandez

Good evening, my name is Elizabeth Vizcarra-Bedoy. It is my pleasure to welcome students, families, and the amazing South High faculty tonight to graduation. It is also my honor tonight to give this commencement speech to my student body, which I am incredibly proud to be a part of.

Allow me to set the scene for you all, I believe most of my peers will relate. The year is 2018, you’re 14—maybe 15 years old, and you’re nervous, terrified, or possibly even excited for high school.

We’re moody, impulsive, reckless, and of course invincible-or so we thought. Nothing could ever hurt us, except of course what others may think of us, how we say “here” when we have a sub, and especially seeing a group of kids our age at the mall.

So, other than the list of endless possible scenarios where we embarrass ourselves to death (that we came up with at 3 am), we were pretty much invincible. Most of us now know this was not even close to the truth.

These past few years have unveiled the brutal reality that we are not untouchable. Our spring semester of our sophomore year was the very last time we were in school “normally” until our senior year, and now we’re here in our cap and gowns, probably ready for the speakers to get on with it and give us our more than deserved diplomas.

Frankly, for some of us, the start of the pandemic may have only been the beginning of our worst days.

The pandemic brought upon unprecedented obstacles that we may have never thought we would get past. For some of us, the pandemic closed a myriad of opportunities and possible new beginnings. We were isolated, mentally as well as physically, and some of us may have lost someone.

Despite these tragedies and obstacles, we prevailed. Up until this very moment, we have survived every single bad day of our lives. Despite how defeated we felt, we persevered.

However, this was in no way, shape, or form. Easy. It was hard, and perhaps debilitating.

Which is why as I stand here in front of you all tonight, incredibly proud and delighted to be a representative of our student body, I ask you all to admire what you have achieved. I ask you all to give yourselves praise. Together, we have conquered remote learning, hybrid learning, and even this almost normal school year that came with its own unique set of challenges.

We missed school due to a water main break and had 3 consecutive snow days. We even beat East in basketball three times, Bishop Carrol twice, and even Kapaun once!

South has been the home to clubs that have ushered in purposeful groups, including our community fridge, spreading cultural diversity, and empowering students.

The class of 2022 has received almost $8 million dollars in scholarship money, now holding South high’s record. Not only does our class hold this record, but we also now hold the record for scholarship money accepted, totaling at a little over $3 million dollars.

We have impressive and talented athletes and artists going to school on great scholarships. We have a Quest Bridge Scholar; Esteban Velasco, a Rudd Scholar; Amy Nguyen, two STEM scholars for Friends University; Jocelyn Cardona and Tiffany Tran, a Hixson Opportunity Award recipient from KU; Kayla Nickel, and Braydon Carter who was awarded the Kansas National Guard Minuteman ROTC Scholarship.

Forgive me, I know I failed to mention everyone; we are just that awesome. However, these are just some of our class’s amazing achievements.

We should all be so incredibly proud of ourselves. We have worked with passion, and we have worked diligently to get to this moment.

So, I ask you all, students, and faculty to give yourselves a break. Instead of keeping your eye on the target and moving forward, take a minute, or even just half of that, and pause.

No matter where you’re at in your journey, just look back and appreciate what you have overcome. !!! Appreciate those that supported you through your journey.

Appreciate the 14-year-old version of yourself that walked through the main doors of South High 4 years ago and is now going to walk this stage.

We must take pride in having this unique high school experience, because it is truly one-of-a-kind. !!! I ask you all to make tonight about rest and appreciation.

Thank every single person around you that helped you get to this moment.

Thank yourself because truthfully you did the hardest parts.

Class of 2022, rest tonight because tomorrow, our journey continues.

Thank you. 

Ellie Vizcarra-Bedoy, Class of 2022
Ellie Vizcarra-Bedoy

Congratulations, Class of 2022!

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