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GABRIELA EVON THOMAS Valedictorian – P.S. 297

5th Grade  On-Line June Commencement Address – June 2020

“Always remember: we are smarter than we think.”

(Good morning Stockton family. This morning I have the honorable pleasure of introducing this year’s P.S. 297, 2020 valedictorian, Gabriela Thomas. When I think of  Gabby, I am reminded of a caterpillar. Now I know some of you are saying, “Ew!,” but bear with me and I will explain. As we remember (from our kindergarten class), caterpillars go through many stages of growth in a short period of time. This concept exemplifies who Gabby is, and (that) was demonstrated tenaciously in our few months of remote learning. During this time, she emerged out of her chrysalis stage and has blossomed into this beautiful butterfly with strong wings weaved with leadership and maturity. In these months, I have witnessed Gabbs evolve into and autonomous young lady who became an invaluable asset to her classmates as well as to me and Ms. Cudyker. From dance troupe, to the debate team, Gabriela gives her all. Join me in raising your virtual glasses to Gabriela Thomas class 501’s class of 2020 valedictorian.  Ms. Battles) 

Thank you, Ms. Battles for that introduction. 
Good morning students, teachers, staff and guests. My name is Gabriela Evon Thomas.  I am this year’s valedictorian. It is a great honor to be picked to be valedictorian of P.S. 297, The Abraham Stockton School. 
I would like to thank Mr. James Brown, our principal, and Ms. Espinal, the assistant principal, for never giving up on us fifth-graders and always having lunch with us. Before I begin, I would like to take a moment of silence for everyone who passed away during this stressful time. Thank you. I dedicate this speech in honor of my grandmother Pamela who passed in early April. She always had hope in me and said I was her “smart little diva”. 

I wasn’t always in P.S. 297, but when I did come, it was in the second grade and luckily Ms. Angelica Irizarry, the Parent Coordinator, trusted me, a second grader, to perform at the talent show and that is when I knew that I belonged at this school. I’m glad I stayed because I made so many friends and met a lot of cool teachers. I also got to be a part of our school’s debate team where I placed top speaker of District 14. I’m so glad to be part of (this) family. 
I would like to thank my mother for being there for me: if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be reading the speech. You are my everything and with you around I will never hit rock bottom. 

I would like to thank my teachers Ms. Battles and Ms. Gabrielle Cudyker. They always believed in us and were always here for us. Without teachers, life would have no class. This quote especially goes to my teachers because if we were without them during online learning, none of us would be here starting a new chapter of our life. 


And now to my fellow fifth-graders: we have overcome so much in the last three months. Who knew we were going to be finishing our fifth grade year at home? We will be a part of history. Everything we accomplish now, (shows) how great we will be in the future.
Always remember: we are braver than we believe, stronger than we seem and smarter than we think. 
Congratulations and here’s to the Class of 2020.
(The publishers are pleased to report Gabriela, 11, will offer her perspectives in Our Time Press, from time to time.)

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