2023 Co-Valedictorian Avni Gupta

One day in AP Bio, we created glowing bacteria. Transferring jellyfish DNA into bacteria, we created cells that were not only antibiotic-resistant but also reminiscent of a little cellular disco party.

Isn’t that incredible?

Between labs and essays and tests and games and clubs and concerts and whatever else you people spend your time doing, it’s too easy to get lost in an endless to-do list. Seriously — who has time for a social life when physics tests feel like the end of the world and auditions are right around the corner? Throw in a pandemic, and I’m surprised I only broke down in every other class!

So it’s not surprising that in the whirlwind of high school, we forget to marvel at the miracle of friction. From our faithful mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) to the evolution of the linguistic systems that allow you to understand me today, we’re surrounded by tiny miracles — every single thing we do and see has a bit of magic in it. It’s in your friends’ smiles. It’s in the way your teachers open new worlds for you. It’s in your families’ love. It’s in the way that you can laugh and cry and connect and learn and empathize and change people’s lives. It’s in the fact that after four long years, you’re about to go out into the world and learn to pay your taxes.

At the beginning of freshman year, we felt that 2023 would never come, that we would never be sitting in these silly square hats, waiting to toss them to the sky. And now it’s here. So before it’s over, I’d like to thank you. To family and friends, teachers and coaches, administrators and custodians and all the people who have shaped our way, thank you for making the world magical.

And to all of you — look around. Soak it all in. Let yourself take pride in your own strength, your passion and creativity and tenacity. Wherever you go and whenever you are, let yourself delight in the mundane and the spectacular.

Congratulations, class of 2023, and may glowing bacteria light your way into your next adventure.

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