Hi 🙂 You’ve probably seen my name around here before, but I suppose I never formally introduced myself. I’m Grace Gustilo, and I’m an eighth grader here at St. Philip the Apostle School. Well, for now, I suppose. I say that because in about 4 days, that won’t be true anymore. To put it simply, I’m graduating.

Oh, wow. Seeing those words is almost more strange than the fact that’s it’s actually happening. I know, I know, it all makes sense. Go through school, get to 8th grade, graduate; that’s the system, that’s what everyone expects and what everyone does. However, it’s still just strange to think that after all of this time, I’m the one whose name is going to be called out. I’m the one who’s going to wear the cap and gown, and I’ll be the one who goes to Disneyland this Wednesday. I’ll be that one who cries at graduation because everything-memories, those that are old and those that are being made at that moment-is so sad and sweet, it’s simply overwhelming.

Yes, well, only a little bit of time now. One of the main reasons for this letter of sorts was to thank you, everyone at Saint Philip, for the wonderful 5 years I’ve been given. Even though I came to the school in 4th grade, I was  still able to find my way just fine, and look how far I’ve come. Now, five years later, I know I’ll miss everything much too soon. Anyhow, thank you, to everyone reading this and to everyone who hasn’t yet. Thank you for making my time here so special, and helping me to create the memories I hold so dear. Every time I walk down any part of our school, I’m flooded with memories, and I wouldn’t have that, had I not had the wonderful people who surround me. Thank you for picking me up when I was down, for giving me so many reasons to smile. Thank you for you help in building my personality, and thank you for showing me all I can be.

I didn’t quite intend for that last bit to get so emotional, but there really isn’t a way to avoid such things. This whole event is quite emotional, and besides, all of those words are true. Anyhow, before we all break off sobbing, allow me to provide some sound advice: Live each day happily, making the most of the time and the people we are with. Sometimes, when we get caught up in drama, gossip, or arguments, we forget to appreciate the fact that we have wonderful people in our lives. We forget that everyone has the right to be happy, but we simply don’t exercise this when we dwell on unpleasant things. And don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are plenty of things in the world that have every right to drag us down. And that’s okay; it’s okay to feel sad, and it’s okay to show others that you feel hurt. The important thing to remember is that we are the only ones capable of pulling ourselves back to happiness, and so we must try to do this as soon as possible. It all goes away far too quickly, and it feels amazing to be able to look back, and smile.

St. Philip the Apostle School, I am leaving you. However, I will always be here. There’s part of my heart that seems to be stuck in the walls, and my memories will never leave the halls. Whether I knew you well, a little bit, or not at all, I know you will carry on the proud legacy of our school. You will rise up, and do great things, and I can only think to give you all the best wishes in the world. And so, keep calm and carry on.