Samuel Lee “Trey” Thurman III, STEM Early College at NC A&T

Samuel Lee “Trey” Thurman III, STEM Early College at NC A&T

To the 2020 graduating class of the STEM Early College at NC A&T congratulations!

With the help of family, faculty and friends, you have successfully survived and accomplished one of your many milestones to come.

One unexpected milestone we are experiencing together is the sad misfortune and reality of COVID-19 which has totally uprooted everyone’s lives. For the graduating class of 2020 there will be no proms, no senior award nights, no senior trips, and no graduations. Instead we get zoom meetings, virtual senior shout-outs, cramped in the house with your family all day (who we love), and a criminal sleep schedule.

These losses do not equate to the loss of life and the many sacrifices of our essential workers of the pandemic, but it is a huge milestone that the class of 2020 will go without.

I suffered the loss of my amazing sister Taylor Noelle on Dec. 12, 2019, to cancer, and my life changed as I knew it forever. She was a greater than life person who was magnetic once you got to know her and had a zeal for life like none other.

They always tell you things like “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” or “God won’t put more on you than you can handle”

But when life throws you a curve ball these quotes can sometimes feel more like a dagger rather than inspiring. This will not be the last time you and I will face tragedy or disappointment, but I have faith that the class of 2020 will rise up as we are now. I believe this event will shape us in ways that we could never imagine for the better.

To the Class of 2020, my friends, I encourage you to live life to the fullest, dream bigger, seize every good opportunity, walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control (All that sappy, but true stuff). It is our turn now; we are the hope for future generations.

No matter how successful we become true character is what will always define us.

I challenge all of us to be the best version of ourselves. Generation Z, Class of 2020, we are shaping the future, so let’s change the world.

Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope. - MLK

Samuel Lee “Trey” Thurman III, STEM Early College at NC A&T

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