International High School Senior Emerson Herrera, 2015 Annual Auction It is an honor to be here tonight celebrating the milestones of the past and continued awakening of the future. My name is Emerson Herrera, I am a senior, and I have a bright future because of Inter- national High School. While nationally only 10% of low-income students graduate from college, thanks to International, I know I will be a part of a larger community who will benefit from an incredible high school and college education.
International High School doesn’t teach their students
to only care about grades, but about the actual learning
that is happening behind the closed doors of classrooms.
International has nurtured us and prepared us well for
college and our lives beyond that. Because of International, I have embraced the true meaning of community,
of being a diverse family. If you look around the school,
you will see that we embody International’s true legacy:
to build global citizens with a world-class education.
The International Baccalaureate program accom-plishes this and much more. It creates highly adaptable,
self-motivated students who allow themselves to take
intellectual risks and discover the world outside of the
classroom. International is like no other school, encouraging us to participate in community service projects
that raise money to build schools in Ethiopia and Senegal, to participate in competitive athletics that make us
a stronger and well-rounded student, and to participate
in a dynamic arts program that challenges us to explore
and express our creativity through student-led plays like
the One Acts or exhibiting our artwork at the May Arts
Through Student Organizations and the Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) requirement for the IB, International
lives out its strategic vision—to ”prepare its graduates
for a world in which the ability to think critically and
to communicate across cultures is of paramount importance”. International is unique by encouraging its students to recognize their personal responsibilities in the
face of change. Through my work as a volunteer thanks
to the CAS project, I learned that mentoring and tutoring
are critical components of an education that emphasize
intellect and diversity. I believe International’s strategic
vision pushes students to go a step further, and to question their role, not only as students, but also as contributing members of society.
Along the way, International students have truly
become global citizens. For example, when my English
teacher taught us to write an essay, he didn’t teach us
the exact structure, but the way in which we can allow our thoughts to flow efficiently, to have confidence
in ourselves, and to be creative. When my Geography
teacher taught us about the harmful ways humans are affecting our planet, he was teaching us to be responsible
individuals, to have ambitions, and to open our eyes to
the consequences we can have on our future. When my
Math teacher taught us about probabilities, he wasn’t
teaching us how many times something cannot transpire,
but how in most situations there will always be a chance
that we may prevail.
Life is indeed a journey, and although we do not have
a map to help us reach our destination, International
has created a clear but flexible path for us to follow and
carve on our own. Through International, I have been
able to become a determined voice to fight for injustices
in our education system, as they are the role models for
how schools should look: diverse in thoughts, race, and
nationalities, while at the same time, embracing each
and every single unique quality we all possess.
International’s generous scholarship program has been
a gift that gave me an opportunity to grow in ways I
never imagined. I will take everything I have learned
and apply it throughout my life, and hopefully pave the
way for others who follow. International has pushed
its students to work together towards a community of
equality to allow low-income students, such as myself,
to be an exception to that 90% who don’t graduate, but
rather a part of the diverse and well-educated society we
As the wise Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do
not go where the path may go; go instead where there
is no path and leave a trail.” Thank you so much for this
incredible opportunity to share an amazing celebration
of community and progress together.
While nationally only 10% of low-income students
graduate from college, thanks to International, I know
I will be a part of a larger community who will benefit
from an incredible high school and college education.