The graduating class of Beverly Junior High sits in the front of the auditorium while the parents and guests sit towards the black. The Principal makes her speech about this year’s graduating class. Every now and then, the teachers have to quiet down the chatty class, but for the most part, the graduation ceremony proceeds just as planned.
Principal: I would like to introduce this year’s valedictorian. She’s a phenomenal scholar and will be continuing her studies as a classical instrumental major at Waverly High; the city’s highest honor performing arts school. Please give a round of applause to Sophie Lee!
The auditorium claps as Sophie stands up from her seat on stage. She nervously walks to the podium, looking out to the audience. She looks around towards her classmates as her stomach begins to knot up. She doesn’t say anything when she stands at the podium; an awkward silence fills the auditorium.
In the audience, Milo watches Sophie on stage, worried for her. He looks around and sees her former friends talk and laugh at Sophie. Milo gets mad and instantly stands up from his seat.
Milo: *shouts* Woohoo! Sophie, you got this!
Sophie looks towards the crowd and sees Milo standing up from his seat. The other graduating classmates look towards Milo. She smiles and takes a deep breath. The teacher quiets down the class and looks towards Sophie. Sophie looks back out towards the auditorium and closes her eyes. She pictures herself at the park with Milo on the stage while they were working on their exit project. She remembers Milo running out towards the audience to tell her to play her violin without any worries at the audience.
Sophie opens her eyes and looks towards the audience once more. She takes a deep breath and looks down at her speech.
Sophie: Good morning, Class of 2022. We are here today to celebrate us ending a chapter in our journeys to start a new one; one where we will learn more about ourselves as people, and one where we will carry our academics and talents to other realms of the world. We all have a unique story to tell, and telling our stories can help those who feel too scared to tell theirs, or those who can’t speak theirs out loud.
Sophie takes a pause and looks at Milo. Milo, in the audience, smiles and nods his head at Sophie. She looks back up, and continues with her speech.
Sophie: My mom met my dad in Korea when he was living there to teach. They both lived in Korea in her small apartment, facing the challenges most interracial couples face in a country where foreigners are not looked at too kindly. My mother, who wanted her children to learn about her roots and culture, also wanted better for us and to learn that passion and determination and courage comes from wanting to going against the norms in society.
Sophie looks down at her paper and shifts in her stance. She continues, even though she appears more nervous than before.
Sophie: I want to thank my mom for always encouraging me to challenge myself and be the best version of myself I can. For us to move from England to the United States within the last year, she taught me that all that I needed to know moving on from middle school and going into high school. Because of her, I am more determined to continue my story and share it to those who may not know me well, and not know that I came to America because my mom wanted me to have a better life and more opportunities to explore my full potential.
Sophie looks back up, feeling confident in her words.
Sophie: So to the Class of 2022, I hope that our next chapter gives us the opportunity to better ourselves and explore life on different paths. We have all worked hard to be in these caps and gowns today, and if no one has told you how proud of you they are today, I will be the one to congratulate you and your accomplishments, because we did this together as one. Thank you and congratulations!
The auditorium applauds and SOphie takes a bow. She shakes hands with the principal as she goes back to her seat. She looks towards Milo in the audience, who gives her a thumbs up.
After the graduation ceremony, all the graduates and their family are in the schoolyard, taking pictures with one another and handing them gifts for their graduation. Milo walks out and looks around the schoolyard for Sophie, but doesn’t see her right away. He hears someone calling out his name, and when he turns around he sees his family.
Jennifer: Congratulations, Milo!
Jennifer hugs Milo and Milo Sr. ruffles Milo’s hair up and smiles.
Milo Sr: We’re so proud of you, bud.
Milo: Thank you.
Milo continues to look around the schoolyard.
Jennifer: Oh! Mollie is with the rest of the family, let’s go and meet up with them.
As the two adults walk in the opposite direction that Milo is looking in, hoping to see Sophie, but fails in the process. He suddenly looks disappointed.
Milo and his family meet up with Mollie and hers. Mollie fist bumps Milo when they meet up, congratulating each other for graduating.
Mollie: We did it! We survived middle school!
Milo: *laughs* Who would’ve thought, right?
Shortly after, Milo and mollie’s friends join them to take pictures. Before they take the first picture, Milo notices Sophie through the crowd of people, in which he quickly jumps out of the group photo an runs towards Sophie. He reaches Sophie and taps her shoulder, in which she turns around and hugs Milo.
Sophie: Congratulations, Milo!
Milo: You too! You did amazing with your speech.
Sophie: You think so? I was really nervous that it was going to sound stupid or dumb…
Milo: It was great. You shared things that were personal and you chose to tell your story. That takes courage, and you totally out beat your stage fright.
Sophie smiles at Milo’s kind words. Sophie’s mother comes towards Sophie and greets Milo.
Ms. Lee: Congratulations, Milo!
Milo: *shyly* Thank you, Ms. Lee.
A woman calls out for Milo, which makes him turn around to see Jennifer and Milo Sr. walking towards his direction. Milo’s face fushes red, embarrassed for his parents to come and meet him when he’s talking to Sophie. Jennifer notices the girl with Milo, and notices the girl’s mother as well.
Jennifer: Hi! I’m Jennifer, Milo’s parent. And this is Milo Sr, Milo’s dad.
Sophie: Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Kamalani. I’m Sophie, Milo’s friend.
The adults smile and begin to introduce each other and have a small talk. The two teens walk away from the adults, towards a secluded area where no one is. They sit on the edge of a railing.
Sophie: We’re officially going into another summer, huh?
Milo: We are. Can you believe it’s been a year since we became friends?
Sophie: It definitely feels like it’s been longer.
Milo: *laughs* Right? It’s been one hell of a year.
The teens share a silence between each other and then look at each other and smile.
Sophie: Thank you, for everything you did for me this year.
Milo: You don’t have to thank me. We’re friends, and that’s what friends do.
Sophie smiles and then takes a deep breath.
Sophie: You think we will still be friends in high-school?
The question catches Milo off-guard.
Milo: Of course! Why would you think that we wouldn’t?
Sophie: *shy* I don’t know… what happens if we don’t see each other in school? Or don’t have the same classes? Or what if we have new interests and new friends and we forget about each other–
Milo: *laughs* Scout!
Sophie stops talking and looks at Milo. He shakes his head and smiles.
Milo: Something tells me we’re going to be together for a really long time.
Sophie smiles and doesn’t say anything. A slight tension is now between the two teens. They look at each other in the eyes. Slowly, they both kiss each other on the lips and pull away.
Sophie: *embarrassed* I’m so sorry Milo, I didn’t–
Milo: No need.
Milo smiles wide to reassure Sophie of his feelings at this exact moment.
Milo: I… liked that.
Sophie takes a deep breath out of relief.
Sophie: I… did too.
The two teens smile big, excited for what’s to come. Milo gets up from the railing and extends his hand out for Sophie.
Milo: Shall we go back to everyone else?
Sophie grabs his hand and holds onto it. Their hands stay interlocked with each other’s as they walk down towards the crowd of graduates and loved ones.
— The End —