Since opening in 1996, more than 3,000 young men and women have earned their high school diplomas at Ombudsman Arizona Alternative Charter Schools. The Class of 2018 saw 306 students earn their diplomas – our largest graduating class ever!
For many students, Ombudsman offers the best path to help them overcome personal, economic, or academic challenges as they work toward their degree.
We’re featuring the commencement speeches of seven graduates from the Class of 2018 here on the blog this month.
This is Theresa Medina’s Ombudsman Arizona Charter success story.
Education helped Theresa feel the confidence that comes with having earned her high school diploma, as well as greater self-esteem and an understanding of her unique gifts. This is the speech she delivered during the graduation ceremony held in Phoenix.
“My name is Theresa Medina. I am a student at Ombudsman Metro.
I’m flabbergasted that this day has finally come! After all the smiles, hugs, new friends, tears, heartbreaks, tough choices, bad days, new adventures, heart aches, memories, and ALL THAT READING that will forever be close to my heart, it truly aches to think that it’s over. I’ll never be this young again and everything is about to change. I know you grads can relate when I say that I feel a huge mix of emotions. I am happy, sad, excited, and scared all at the same time.”
“These are not the same faces I walked into this with, but I’m thankful and proud that we are all here and we can take this huge step into the real world together. And if I’m being honest with you, it still doesn’t feel real. Even though life has definitely had me land on my face a couple of times, I used that pain to help me get back up 1000 times stronger.”
“I used to believe I would most likely never graduate and might as well give up and feel sorry for myself forever. But then I found Ombudsman and things began to change. I couldn’t have done it without Mr. Franklin and Mr. Wilkes. I thank them for pushing me and keeping it real. I thank Mr. Valencia. You are my superhero. I thank you for showing me the right path and telling me what I needed to hear instead of what I wanted to hear; Miss Lynn for always knowing what to say; and Miss Ingram for showing me such patience and understanding. You never once gave up on me, even at times when giving up seemed to be the only answer.”
“I thank all my school staff again for everything you have taught me, for helping me distinguish between good and bad and for helping create this unique and powerful woman I have become.”
“I also want to thank the rest of the Ombudsman staff for making a difference in my life. I’m forever grateful for everything you’ve taught me. Even though at times I would get so frustrated that you could LITERALLY hear me screaming from the next room. You all showed me the acceptance and the guidance I really needed and don’t know what I would have done without you. I was so lost and misguided, it really felt success would be impossible. I felt like I would never get out and might as well consider becoming the next mad hatter. But you all helped me to crawl out of the rabbit hole. I needed a few hands to help pull me out, but I did it.”
“People have told me I’m useless, that I’m only in the way, that I’m not good enough, that I don’t meet up to their standards, don’t fit into the average category, and that nothing I do will ever be good enough or get noticed. To those people I say, “HA! LOOK AT ME NOW! Every person in this room is a witness that I AM GREAT! And you are correct, I don’t meet your standards or fit into your category. I AM UNIQUE! I AM SPECIAL! I don’t have to fit into your category, I WILL CREATE MY OWN CATEGORY!”
“I thank all my school staff again for everything you have taught me, for helping me distinguish between good and bad and for helping create this unique and powerful woman I have become. I don’t know if we will be in touch years from now, but know that I will always love you guys and will always remember how amazing it was to be a student at Ombudsman Metro.”
“To my fellow graduates, I leave you with this piece of advice. BE YOURSELF! BE UNIQUE! BE SPECIAL!
SHOW THE WORLD THAT EVERYTHING NEGATIVE IS BEHIND YOU AND THAT FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, YOU WILL BE THE MASTER OF YOUR OWN DESTINY.”
“DON’T YOU DARE LET ANYTHING HOLD YOU BACK! SHOW THE WORLD THAT YOU WERE DESTINED TO BE GREAT!
Thank You and Have a Wonderful Future!”