Kennedy Cordts

For the past four years, I have listened to countless seniors share their stories in these speeches- how they’ve made mistakes and learned from them, how they’ve grown as individuals. These speeches have led me to reflect on who I once was, and the person I am today. Thinking about it now, I really have changed a lot.

Coming into RHP as a freshman, I was terrified. I struggled with social anxiety, so I had a difficult time making friends. I was the shy girl who was so scared to say the wrong thing that she decided that it would be better to say nothing at all. Over the next few years, my social anxiety became a huge weight on my shoulders, and it affected not only my ability to make friends, but my academics as well. I was too scared to speak up and ask for help because I didn’t want to seem unintelligent or weak, and my grades suffered because of it. I felt like nobody could understand me, and I felt alone. Even though I was able to make friends at school, I still felt like I didn’t belong. I wondered if I would ever find my place at RHP, but over time, the pieces started falling into place. 

For me, the key was finding a few close friends and sticking with them. I had to realize that I couldn’t get along with and please everybody, so it was better to build on the few friendships I had. The small circle I surrounded myself with supported me through everything, and they helped me speak up and gain confidence. I also began to realize that my teachers really do care about me and want me to succeed, and the only way they could support me is if I let them. Suddenly, I began speaking up more and asking for help, and doing so has made a vast improvement on my grades and stress levels. The more I began to push myself out of my comfort zone, the easier it became.

Now, I finally feel like I have a voice and a sense of belonging. I’m able to make friends much more easily, and I don’t feel embarrassed or scared to ask for help from my teachers anymore. I’m a much happier and confident person than I was when I first came to RHP. That change started with me, but it was the support of my teachers and my friends that encouraged me to keep pushing forward. Thank you.