#FVHSClassof2023: To the Familiar and Unfamiliar: Words of Advice from National Honor Society President, Olivia H.

“Good Afternoon, my name is Olivia H., your National Honor Society President. Thank you Principal Shick, board of trustees, faculty, staff, and of course families for being present here today to be part of such a momentous and well-worth waiting-for occasion, the graduation of the Senior Class of 2023!

Now that I’ve addressed the adults here, I can talk to you guys now. I personally want to congratulate all of you for finishing your last year of high school. It got you here today. Congrats!

As I was preparing this speech, I watched graduation speeches from Steve Jobs, Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, and others –they all took more than fifteen minutes, –I promise I will not be taking that long. I expected the “dream big –you can leave your mark on the world” speeches and I’m all for that, I think that is a message to encourage, but not the main message I want to encourage all of you with today. Which is difficult because it would be so easy to say, “Follow your passions, dreams, your heart” –but I think we all know, deep down, that following such advice is not always easy in practice nor always true. We must acknowledge that we are all embarking on paths we may or may not know, but nonetheless, paths that have not yet been traveled by us. That our paths hold realities where we will be pressured and underestimated by ourselves and others; times when we will be unsure and afraid to make choices and moments when we must face our fears to continue forward.

From the speakers I mentioned, each of them emphasized living your own life with mind and heart. With mind and heart graduates. Your mind for knowledge and decision-making, your heart for courage and empathy. Both are going to be needed because even if the path you’re undertaking is well-worn, you will see it differently from everyone else that has journeyed before you. You will need to feel the good and the bad, the successes and the failures because both will help you to become someone who can learn and grow from the best and worst of times.

We are all agents of change, encouraged to shape the world for the better, and it seems like a very large task, even an obligation, but before you set out to change the world, or even the worlds of others, explore; let curiosity be your companion as it once was when you were a kid. Let it shape your perspective, as Leonard Cohen says, “even when you see cracks, you see light has the opportunity to come in.”

Once again, congratulations Senior Class of 2023! Safe Travels.”

Congratulations, Florida Virtual High School class of 2023! If you’re a senior who would like to be featured, send us a photo and your plans after graduation via our share your story page or share your photos with us on social media using #FVHSClassof2023. 

To watch the 2023 In-Person Class of 2023 Graduation ceremony, click here.


Katie HodginsKatie Hodgins joined the FLVS team as a Content and Public Relations Specialist. A military veteran and lifelong learner, Katie enjoys communicating unique and innovative stories about people, places, and opportunities to inspire and engage the next generation. Having traveled throughout the world, she is excited to plant roots here in Florida and with Florida Virtual School.



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