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William Chrisman graduation 2020: 'Fight for yourself'

Staff Writer
The Examiner
Chrisman High graduate Sam Hawley shows off his diploma folder during Saturday's commencement ceremony at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

William Chrisman High School

132nd annual commencement

Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City Kansas

Class size: 291 graduates

Top 1 percent: Tanner Carter, Molly Dawson, Jakob Johnson

Post-secondary: $850,000 in first-year scholarships.

Class speaker: Ramya Thomas

Thomas, who was named 2020 Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City, commended her classmates for making it through a “very trying time,” and said that while they missed out on many traditional senior rites of passage, “That does not make this rite of passage any less special.”

“This will not define us,” she said, but rather “whether we keep getting up and doing the right thing.”

To quote Dory from the animated movie “Finding Nemo,” she said, “Just keep swimming; just keep swimming.”

Thomas noted the physical setbacks she had to overcome because of Crohn’s disease, and that graduation should be followed by more goals.

“Life will throw obstacles at you, too, but you have to be willing to fight for yourself,” she said. “Never forget how far you came. Take this accomplishment, cross it off your list and begin to set your next goal.”

– Compiled by Mike Genet