WHS 2021 Graduation Speaker: Lily Mikita, Valedictorian

The Wilton High School graduating class’ valedictorian is always unveiled for the first time at commencement. This year, WHS assistant principal Dr. Amy Korn made the announcement, introducing senior Lily Mikita as the Class of 2021 valedictorian.

It is both my honor and privilege to announce a valedictorian of the Wilton High School class of 2021. This student has maintained a 4.0-grade point average while taking a rigorous course load, especially in the most challenging of circumstances, a pandemic. Our valedictorian is a well-rounded young lady who has been a tremendous asset to our school and community. Her school counselor describes her as a gregarious, positive young person who enthusiastically approaches all aspects of school. Her teachers describe her as a student who often adds insightful comments to classroom discussions and a diligent student that loves the process of learning.

She is proud of her participation in the Poetry Out Loud readings and has performed in all of the musical productions during her time here at Wilton High School. She has been a member of many local productions and has also been on stage at Ontario, Canada at the Stratford Festival. During COVID, she continued her passion through performing in various Shakespeare forums online.

It would come as no surprise that she is a member of our Madrigals, our most prestigious singing group, where she thrives as a soloist. Since her junior year, she’s also become a member of the Tri M Music Honor Society. She’s a talented artist and is known by her peers as a dependable presence and one who is capable of calmly offering practical solutions to unexpected events. I am proud to share that she is also the president of our Women’s Activist Club.

She has also volunteered locally at performing studios since sixth grade. On top of that, she works in organic gardening during the summer. She is a woman of many talents that go beyond her academic prowess. This fall, she will be attending Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio and plans to pursue her bachelor of fine arts in acting. It is my honor and privilege to present to you our valedictorian of the Class of 2021, Lily Mikita.

Lily Mikita

Thank you, Dr. Korn, and welcome to my fellow classmates; friends and family; administrators, teachers, and staff; and distinguished guests. My name is Lily Mikita, and this is the last thing I thought I would be doing at my graduation, but I am honored and humbled to be this year’s valedictorian.

I expected to struggle academically in high school. I have ADHD and was in the special education program for my first two years. I learn differently from many people. I’m terrible at standardized tests, and I often need clarification on assignments before completing them. These are some of my challenges and I suspect that everyone has their own. This is one of the things that connects us all and the ability of the Wilton High School community to help us with these challenges makes this a flourishing environment for education, which is why I have chosen to meditate on the meaning of community for the next few minutes.

These last 15 months have been challenging, as we all know. The global pandemic has affected our lives in ways that were unimaginable. While we’ve all been challenged, there’ve also been insights. We relearned the benefits of collaboration. Our time apart has reinforced the importance of gathering together, like we are on this beautiful afternoon.

While we all have the common community of Wilton High School, we also have our smaller communities. Some find it in sports, others find it in clubs. I find mine in the performing arts. When I think of my communities, I think of the relationships I have with many of the people sitting in front of me. I am reminded of the joy I get from self-expression and reaching a common goal. All of these communities help us to grow, to become interesting and engaged individuals.

This individuality and diversity of thought and experience is what makes our school and larger community thrive. I look to the teacher who encourages their student to speak freely in class, even if the opinion is controversial so that we all may learn. I look to the group projects I’ve had over the years where we work together using our unique strengths to complete the task at hand. Community teaches us that it is good to fail. We should fail loudly and gloriously because those are the moments where we learn the most.

We have all gotten here by standing on the shoulders of our wonderful and dedicated educators. And while there are so many people worthy of being mentioned by name, today, I would like to highlight one person in particular, my guidance counselor, Mr. Dann Pompa. [APPLAUSE] His fierce advocacy, his sense of humor and the candy in his office have helped not just me, but the countless other students, both past and present. Mr. Pompa, we all miss you so much and can’t wait until you come back.

Our brilliance comes from our bravery to adapt to new situations and support one another in the pursuit of growth and progress. Our educators lend us their shoulders to stand on so we can make a brighter future just as we will lend our shoulders to those who will come after us. So as we gather here together, one last time to acknowledge our common ties, we go forth into this new world, this new normal, to explore who we are and who we will become as people and as citizens, knowing that individually we can achieve excellence, but together we can do the impossible. Thank you.