Perseverance Got Us Through: Congrats Gateway Graduates


Kiki Watson

Welcome, family and friends of Gateway students, staff and faculty of Gateway, and people who work higher-up in the county. I’m Kiki, one of around 30 Gateway seniors and 340 Westminster seniors. In an hour or so, I’ll graduate from Gateway. In a week, I’ll graduate from Westminster, and a few months after that I’ll be at a four-year college.

Earlier this year, I volunteered to give this speech and proceeded to write around seventeen drafts and was never really satisfied with them. I realized that I still didn’t understand exactly what it meant to go here. “Our mission is to help students grow socially, personally, and intellectually while inspiring them to achieve behavioral and academic success.” There’s a lot of stigma around this school, but if there’s anything to know about Gateway/Crossroads, it’s that they’ve accomplished their goal for us.

Teachers say a lot about them just wanting us to graduate, and most of us have had bad experiences at comprehensive schools in the county and didn’t think we’d graduate. Some of us have dropped out, some of us were struggling with mental health issues, some of us weren’t being supported by staff, and some of us behaviorally could not be at a larger school. But, above all, all of us still got to graduate, when we probably didn’t think we would. Congratulations, students, we got through it; congratulations teachers, you got us through it.

A lot of us don’t know exactly what we’re doing after graduation. It’s alright to not know exactly what to do that will make you happy. Personally, I’m going to college to become a history teacher; a lot of people here are going into the military, to a trade school, to community college, taking a gap year, or simply don’t know.

I leave you all with a piece of advice: be kind to yourself, and don’t try to suppress your own dreams. You don’t have to change your goals in life for other people.

Congratulations, students!

This speech was delivered in front of all graduating seniors, their families and friends, and the staff at Gateway School/Crossroads Middle at the graduation ceremony that took place Thursday, May 26, 2022, at the Carroll Community College Scott Center.