Salutatorian Speech: The Class of 2018 is the face of hope for Waukegan

By Jose Manual Martinez
Jose will be attending Tufts University in the fall

I am going to focus on the special people who were by my side at Cristo Rey St. Martin.

Greetings to all the families, students, and friends who are here today to celebrate the graduation of the class of 2018. It is a very special moment, and I do not know parents who are more proud than mine. I am happy that they are my parents and I love them with all my heart. They have brought me to this world to be humble, to always be a worker, and to put the Hispanic population in my heart. I will never forget that I have Mexican blood and I am very proud to be Mexican. Thank you for always supporting my dreams and for always being by my side. They have never failed me and I hope that I will never fail you.

My brother Cristopher, I’ve seen you grow for these past 10 years and it is so crazy to think that you’ve grown this much. You are such a smart kid. Make sure that your intelligence never goes to waste. Do not be friends with people who bring negativity to your life. Keep exploring the world through your YouTube videos. You know so much more than I knew when I was your age and it makes me so happy. You have so much potential and I want you to make our padres proud. I am entrusting you to be the little man of the house and to always be there for our parents when they are in need, especially when you need to translate for them! Be a smarter person, a better person, and more good looking than your brother. But it will be hard. I love you Cris and I am always going to be here for you. So make sure you Snapchat me at college. I will always make time for you, little brother.

Now, I am going to shout out some of the most important people that have guided me here today: my teachers. Mr. Horcher and Ms. Bonnerjee, even though I always had so much trouble in your classes, you guys were always so willing to help. Ms. Murphy and Mr. Mayne, even though I would always criticize my writing, both of you would give me amazing feedback, even if sometimes I could not understand it. Mr. Glab and Mr. Fuller, you guys are the reason why I want to be a politician because of your coursework about U.S. history and government. My eyes were opened to see how interesting politics can be. Mr. Larson and Mr. G, even though I was not a very religious person, the study of theology is so much more than that and I was able to learn about different cultures. To the Schuler program, I am grateful for the support during these four years for the advice to “always be my personal best.” Everyone has given me the path for countless opportunities and adventures I will be able to embark on.

Next, my friends who I will always love. Iris has been my best friend since kindergarten and I have always been so proud of her positivity and perseverance. Mayor, a group of hooligans who I now call my dearest friends. Karina and Alex, you two are some funny and goofy people and I am happy that we have been able to make amends in order to become friends. I am always going to support you two and I only wish the best for you on the journey to find a boo. C6RE, we have had our ups and downs, but you guys have been there for me. I appreciate all of you, Yared, CC, Manny, Dane, and Jojo, for helping me find my identity by introducing me to new music and Melee. I would have never gone out if it was not for Small Houses. I can truly say that you guys have made me grow as a person and made me realize sometimes we do not need to be so serious.

Julissa, you have shown me since sophomore year that you are an outstanding student and an even better human being. You are so perfect in my eyes and you are one of my greatest aspirations. I wish I had your test taking skills, your maturity, your decisiveness, but hey, I have you by my side so I can become better! You are genuine, down to earth, and only want the best for other people, which is shown through your commitment to community service and equality for women. I love you and I really hope the best for you at Notre Dame and whatever else is in store for you. I appreciate you, I am grateful for you, and I am happy that you are in my life.

The Class of 2018, I am so happy to be graduating with all of you today. There is so much potential in here that will bring so much good to this world. If I had one word to describe the class of 2018 as a whole, it would be hope. Every single one of you brings hope for a better future.

Whenever people think of Waukegan, they think of a place that is filled with people who are supposedly “good for nothing.” This serves as our motivation, because we are going to prove their stereotypes wrong. We are all going to make something meaningful out of our lives. We all have a role in this society, so whatever we do, it is going to contribute something good to this divided world.

Either by being a police officer, a pediatrician, a movie director, a computer scientist, a lawyer, an engineer, etcetera. No matter the amount of adversities, I believe in every single one of you. We are the face and future Waukegan so we must make sure that everybody knows what we are capable of and who we are as people. These past four years have taught me that all of you can really change this world. We have the tools and resources to make a difference, so why not use them?

The class of 2018 embodies hope and it is on a mission to make Waukegan and CRSM a place where everyone can come and succeed.

We all have special people in our lives that help us become who we are. All of these people that I have talked about in my speech have truly shaped my life in these past four years. I would not have been able to do as good as I did without them. I am a people-person so I wanted to take this time to give thanks to all of those who have helped me become Jose Martinez. My accomplishments, dreams, and experiences would not have happened without all of you. Gracias a mi familia, thank you to the class of 2018, and thank you CRSM teachers and staff for making my high school experience be filled with happiness, love, and positivity.