Student Voices

Back to student voices archive
June 20, 2021

Student Voice: High school senior delivers “Class of COVID” graduation speech

Anne Laurie Pierre

Editor’s note: Anne Laurie Pierre is one of three students from Massachusetts profiled in “COVID and the Classroom,” a project by Boston public media outlet GBH News. The Everett High senior lost her father to COVID-19 and helped her mother battle both the virus and leukemia. The project’s finale “Class of COVID” debuts on Monday, June 21 at 7:30-pm ET. Pierre will join a panel discussion following the half hour retrospective, which streams for a national audience on Facebook live and YouTube. Read Pierre’s high school’s graduation speech here:

2021 Warriors

Good evening class of 2021, administrators, faculty, and loved ones. My name is Anne Laurie Pierre and I am the senior president here at Everett High school. Before I begin, I’d like for everyone here to give a big round of applause to the teachers, school faculty, city leaders and everyone who had a hand in our curriculum, educational funds, and activities.

I am truly honored to be standing here in front of the class who I refer to as Warriors, so please give YOURSELVES a round of applause.

The years 2019 through 2021 have been a blessing yet a curse. People have lost opportunities, homes, jobs, and even loved ones in a span of a couple of months while being forced to stay indoors with our thoughts, and it was hard. It was mentally exhausting. Throughout that time, some people coped by picking up a new hobby, such as making jewelry, art pieces and so much more, but also many people battled with their inner thoughts and family circumstances causing them to lose all types of motivation, develop depression, and even self-destruct.

…we acknowledge that Black people shouldn’t be killed for jogging, wearing a hoodie, sleeping in their own homes or just SIMPLY BEING BLACK.

And it amazes me how the same individuals I’m talking about are here today, sitting right in front of me ready to step into the next chapter of their lives, still fighting on the battlefield. YOU should be very proud of yourself, my peers.

We were hit with this unexpectancy before we even had the chance to put up our armor, and it was perplexing— but the same warrior mentality we had throughout this whole pandemic to keep pushing and grinding is the same mentality we will need when we enter the real world.

As a Black activist, I can say that I am truly proud of my generation— the millennials and the Xennials, might think that we were a reckless and rebellious generation and I agree, we are, but that’s only because we know our worth, we acknowledge that Black people shouldn’t be killed for jogging, wearing a hoodie, sleeping in their own homes or just SIMPLY BEING BLACK. We understand that innocent Asian elderly shouldn’t be beaten or mistreated for a pandemic they had NOTHING to do with—

Because of OUR voice we are seeing the change that should have been in place a LONG time ago and that is something we should be proud of.

Before I end my speech, I would like to present a gift to Everett public schools on behalf of the class of 2021. You have been supportive, thoughtful and unwavering in your support for us.

Because of OUR voice we are seeing the change that should have been in place a LONG time ago and that is something we should be proud of.

I’d like to thank the teachers and leaders in my life that pushed me to be the best version of myself. Thank you for always having faith in me and speaking success into my life. Your words are something I will take with me to Howard and the rest of my path.

Some people ask me how am I still pushing through despite all the challenges I’ve faced and I’m telling you now, it’s by the Grace of the lovely God that I serve. I can promise you that if it wasn’t for the strength that He gives me— my lovely mother, a survivor, wouldn’t be amongst the others in the crowd today. That’s a true warrior right there.

RELATED: Mom Coming Home (Anne Laurie Pierre Video Diary)

So today I ask you all to be Warriors, be conquerors of your trials and tribulations, and rejoice in your victory here today.

Finally, I’d like to close out by saying, JUSTICE FOR Breonna Taylor, Junito Falcon, Daunte Wright, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, Jacob Azevedo, Vincent Chin, Oluwatoyin Salau, Mikayla Miller, and many other lives that were lost due to discrimination of race, gender, and religion. Congratulations Class of 2021. Thank you.

  • Tags:

  • Related Stories

    Tooltip of related stories

    More Student Voices

    Tooltip of more video block

    Submit Your Student Voice

    NewsHour Extra will not use contact information for any purpose other than our own records. We do not share information with any other organization.

    Related Content

    Tooltip of related content

    RSS Content

    Tooltip of RSS content 3