CORAL SPRINGS, FL – As a graduate of the Coral Springs High School Class of 2020, the coronavirus could not have come at a worse time.

In a matter of a few months, the moments that we have been looking forward to for 12 years, such as prom and graduation, were taken from us.

Personally, as the class valedictorian, giving my valedictorian speech was something that I anticipated for my entire senior year. I do not think anyone ever expected the situation to escalate as far as it has.

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I think the most frustrating aspect of the virus is the feeling of not being able to do anything about it. There are no easy fixes.

In addition to living in the middle of a pandemic, we are now living in a time where walking around as a person of color has become a scary thing.

It is ridiculous that we still have to fight for equal rights in 2020. The human race should not be separated by the color of our skin, rather we should be united through the differences that make us unique.

As a person of color, I have definitely had my fair share of racism, even if I did not know it at the time.

When I graduated with a GPA of 5.407 and perfect attendance, many people thought that I received a full-ride scholarship to my dream school. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

I could not help but wonder if my race played a role as I looked at my fellow peers, from non-minority races, as they received scholarships. I hope that my race did not play a role because that would create a type of world that is shameful to look at.

So how do we survive this pandemic, when employee hours are being cut significantly and there’s so much upheaval regarding race relations?

There are so many negative complications that keep stacking up and making it harder to stay strong in these scary times.

But I know this: we have to keep going and doing our best.

That’s the only way to continue the fight for equality so it’s guaranteed for all – during this time of coronavirus and far beyond it.

Tiffany Persaud is the valedictorian of Coral Springs High School Class of 2020 who plans to pursue a career as a neurosurgeon.  


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