Apalachee High School class of 2021 salutatorian Guillermo Su Gomez gives his speak during the school's graduation ceremony Wednesday, May 26. 

Good evening everyone. My name is Guillermo Su Gomez, and it is my honor to speak to you tonight.

I would like to thank God for giving me the opportunity to speak to you tonight, and for all of the things that He has helped me accomplish. I want to thank everyone who is here tonight. I want to thank faculty, staff and everyone that has provided us with guidance over the last four years. I want to thank everyone who is present during this ceremony, and I would also like to extend my congratulations to the Class of 2021. 

Thank you to all the parents and guardians who have supported us along this journey and who will continue to support us as we dive into our next adventure. Thank you to my parents for always being there for me, for showing me that there is truly no purer love than the love that a parent can have for their kids. 

Mamá y Papá. Hay muchas cosas por las que hemos pasado que solo nosotros compartimos. Cuando venimos a los Estados Unidos, su mayor preocupación siempre fue mi futuro, el no saber si atender una universidad sería posible. Pase lo que pase, sé que siempre voy a tener a alguien a mi lado, que me apoyara incondicionalmente. Si me dieran a elegir padres, los escogería sin pensarlo. 6 años después de haber venido a este país, estoy muy feliz de finalmente tener la oportunidad de agradecer todo lo que me han dado. 

Thanks for letting me live the American Dream. It is because of their efforts that I will be able to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this upcoming fall. 

Chelsea Nunez, Layla Contreras, Naomi Pineda, Heidi Martinez, and Andrew Graham, thank you guys for sticking with me throughout these last four years. 

Mr. Holcomb, thank you for your advice. Not only were you an amazing teacher, but you truly have been a mentor for me throughout my high school years. 

Mr. Shull, thank you for being an amazing academic team coach, and for always keeping Holcomb in check. 

Mr. Wadleigh, thank you for being an amazing counselor. You were more excited about my accomplishment than I was, and I truly appreciate that. Thank you for listening to me rant about organic chemistry and multivariable calculus in your office for too many hours. 

Mrs. Peck, thank you for instilling a love for science in me. I will always remember our daily chemistry talks, acid-base equilibrium, and your encouragement to take organic chemistry.

Mrs. Shelley Reeves, thank you for being the first person to believe that I had the potential to attend an elite university. I will forever be grateful for all your help surrounding my college journey. 

Christopher Rios, I am incredibly grateful for all the knowledge and advice you imparted to me throughout the last three years. 

To everyone who helped me get to where I am right now, I am incredibly grateful for your willingness to guide me through these last four years. Thank you to everyone that has helped me become the person that I am today.

Now, to the class of 2021

One of the greatest physicists of our time, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, once said: “The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these ingredients across our galaxy billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”

I don’t intend this to be some vague metaphor, some fabricated analogy where I tell you how you should live your life. In fact it’s quite the contrary. Through this quote, Dr. Tyson explains that the universe and ourselves are inexorably the same entity. Class of 2021, it is up to you to decide what this universe means to you. Whether it is your faith, family, loved ones, friendships, experiences, talents, failures, accomplishments. Your grit, resilience, courage, freedom, and happiness. Your integrity, gratitude, empathy and vision. No matter how you choose to define your motivations — your universe — remember that there is someone or something out there that will guide you through your journeys and endeavors. We have already been granted the qualities needed to succeed, and it will be up to us to define our life experiences.

Today, I can undoubtedly say that “We are stardust brought to life then empowered by the universe to figure itself out — and we have only just begun.” 

Congratulations, Class of 2021!


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