North Point High School class leaders, valedictorian Ishaan Chada and salutatorian Gabriel Alleyne, each addressed their peers in the Class of 2022 during graduation on June 3 at Regency Furniture Stadium. Although they earned the top scores of the 454 graduates, their speeches centered around the potential and talents of their classmates.
“Every choice you make has a cost — big or small,” said Alleyne, who earned a merit scholarship and will attend North Carolina A&T State University to major in computer science. “I stand here as your class salutatorian due to my hard work and dedication, but I also missed out on a lot of experiences while earning this honor. When you work too hard, you miss out on enjoying the moment. When you relax too much, you may miss out on securing your future.”
He gave shout-outs to several students but didn’t have time to point out all who had an impact on him. “There are so many inspirational students in our class who have enriched my time at North Point,” Alleyne said. “If you haven’t fully applied yourself this year, remember you still possess great potential. But none of us will ever find out what lives we will live unless we give it our all. Let’s maximize the remaining time we have and live beautiful lives of which we can truly be proud.”
Valedictorian Chada will attend UCLA in the fall and plans to major in aerospace engineering and astrophysics. “We all worked hard, but our hard work all looked different. We all experienced the same four years but what we got out of those four years looks different for everybody,” he said. There are so many talents that should get recognized. Every single person in here has talents I could only wish to have.”
North Point boasts students who are athletically gifted, have academic talents, possess real-world skills that will serve them well and who are brilliant in the arts. The gifts other people cultivate should not lead to jealousy or a sense of loss. “Instead of focusing on what I didn’t do, I can focus on what I did. And you should too,” Chada said. “Truth be told, I may have missed out on some experiences … but what do I gain by dwelling on them?”
Chada urged the graduates to set their own pace. “We get to leave North Point and find our purpose,” he said. “Don’t look around. Everyone is progressing at their own rate. I look around and see people struggling to keep up with others and wonder ‘What’s the rush?’ Focus on your own goals, your own dreams, your own aspirations.”
Principal Daniel Kaple complimented the students on balancing coursework with living through a pandemic and grappling with social and political divides playing out on a world stage. “You have meant more to us than you could possibly know,” Kaple told the graduates. “Thank you for reminding me and the staff why we really do this.”