BRADENTON, Fla. -- With high school graduations across the country being canceled, delayed or altered, Valedictorian speeches have fallen by the wayside.
A national competition was started, asking seniors nationwide to submit virtual speeches.
Isabella Macias has dreamed of giving a graduation speech ever since she was a little girl running around Tom Bennett Park.
Then just a few months away from receiving a diploma from Braden River High School, the pandemic changed everything.
“I know a lot of people were going through anxiety, depression. People were scared how the school year was going to end. They were sad they weren’t going to be with their friends,” said Macias.
Throughout her high school career, Macias always had a desire to inspire, so she applied for the National Society of High School Scholars Virtual Valedictorian Scholarship. They were looking for the top 10 motivational speeches from the class of 2020.
In her speech, Macias wrote, “I am proud of each and every one of us. We are stronger than ever and these past four years have prepared us for greatness. No matter what disaster may come our way, we will always continue to look forward, to look up.”
The speech, recorded right in her bedroom, was selected as a winner. Macias even sprinkled in a space theme throughout. Her goal is to one day be an astrophysicist.
“All of us today are astronauts and we’ve all taken a giant leap to face this pandemic,” said Macias during the speech.
As part of her award, the honors student was granted a $1,000 scholarship to the University of Florida, where she hopes to begin class in the Fall.
“I want to pretty much show these kids that they can make it and I really strive to be that role model for them,” said Macias.
For more on the National Society of High School Scholars and to see Macias' entire speech go to: https://www.nshss.org/lp/nshss-virtual-valedictorian-speeches/