MCH Featured Speaker Maria AyallaMiddle College High School Graduate Maria Ayalla gave a moving and heartfelt address at the graduation ceremony. Following is the text of her speech:
From its nurturing guidance to its genuine care, Middle College extends far beyond the perimeters of an educational program. It stands alone, with a perpetual duty to encourage academic success in even the most disheartened of students, students like me. I began this program unaware and indifferent to the opportunities which lay before me upon graduation. As a product of parents who were never formally educated, I never considered myself capable of a higher education nor was I cognizant of how to even pursue one. Blinded by the misconceptions I had so meticulously cultivated about what my future held, I was certain that my life would be no different than what I knew. And yet, upon entering this program I was taught how to see again, how to pursue what always seemed intangible. For the first time in my educational career, I was greeted with open arms by teachers who embraced my individuality and my own personal story. In merely a year, not only was I able to come to terms with who (I) am as a dedicated and independent student, but I was able to acknowledge my own capacity for success. Encouraged by the support I felt, I earned unparalleled grades and rediscovered an intellectual side of myself I had suppressed for so many years. And today, as I stand before you all, as (I) prepare to commence my freshman year on a full tuition scholarship to UCLA, I acknowledge that I am forever indebted to Middle College, to my instructors, my professors, and to my fellow academic peers for caring for me and teaching me that it’s okay to succeed regardless of where you come from.