NUTLEY, NJ - Nutley High School Class of 2018 valedictorian Rauf Ural took to the podium at the graduation ceremony to challenge his classmates to continue to grow, change, and challenge themselves. 

The son of immigrants, Rauf spoke of the moral support of his parents and brother on her academic journey. He also encouraged hisr classmates to recognize their parents for the role they played in the lives of high schoolers. 

TAPinto Nutley obtained Ural's address to the Nutley High School Class of 2018: 

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"Naturally, we all have busy lives and I was trying to think of an intro for this speech after I was told I’d be making one, and I realized the uncertainty of what I was going to say was a lesson in itself that I’m going to share. So, I used the most free and inactive time of the day I could think of: between 8:05 and 2:53 before finals week.

Good evening everyone, and especially to the Class of 2018! Congratulations!

While we wait to turn our tassels and begin one of our last summers as teenagers, let us step back and appreciate how we arrived at this moment. Family always comes first; right now think of those amazing people in the crowd, and the next time you see them give them one last smile as high schoolers. Especially to your parents, give them a good smile -- one that will make up for all those times you asked for too much money before you finally got your job or for the time you accidentally scratched up their car.

We entered this school four years ago, thinking our friend circle would stay the same. Four years ago, some of us feared the workload of high school and being late to class. Four years ago, we experienced the trials and tribulations of broken air conditioning, and it wasn’t until last week that one of my classes finally had it fixed. It’s too late to apologize. Although the staff of NHS hasn’t been babying us for 4 years, we also must thank them for their support inside and outside the classroom. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to pass those timed multiple choice tests you often come across in the real world.

No, NHS, despite my teasing, you are something special to me. Throughout all the personal changes I’ve undergone in the last four years, you were always there for better or for worse. I inevitably grew attached to you, part of me secretly enjoying that back-to-school feeling in late August when I’d once again see my favorite teachers and peers. I won’t be coming back this time, and I’d be doing myself and this school a disservice if I didn’t reflect on the main lesson I was taught.

Freshman year I entered Nutley High School with a mindset of working hard. I had to. My parents are immigrants, never enrolling in college. They did not know how my grades worked, what classes were important, or how to manage college applications. But what they couldn’t help me with in academics, they made up for in moral support. My brother is 6 years older; he is my anchor to reality and my inspiration for determination. Mom, Baba, Adem, thank you.

Although I can’t predict the future, I do know that I will leave this podium with a different mindset. Classmates, do not become comfortable in your education, and I mean education in the broadest sense. I am not telling you to study harder -- that gets old, fast -- trust me. I am telling you that you should never feel like you have settled in anything you do.

The absence of comfort is the fuel of change, and I guarantee that the ideal person you want to become now will not be the same several years down the line. Eventually, we will become frustrated at ourselves and where we are going. Uncertainty seems to be in every corner at this point in our lives, and we must use this apprehension to let go of all doubt.

In fall of 2014, we felt it. We were put into an environment with which we weren’t familiar, had new expectations imposed upon us, and acted differently to compensate. We changed, and we weren’t ready, but we are glad that we did -- it was a little treat. Everything comes second to the development of your own maturity, so I tell you today to use that unexpected change, whenever it greets you, to steer yourself in another direction, even if you don’t know where it leads. Just don’t crash into anything along the way.

Class of 2018, after college when you look for that new job in your old room living off your parents’ cooking again, you should thank yourself. Thank yourself for always being your own support and putting up with your mistakes. In the end, you are the only person you’ll always have around, so make sure to treat yourself once in a while.

Thank you and good luck!"

Related story: 'We are always changing...' Nutley Class of 2018 President Noah Roselli tells NHS Graduates

TAPinto Nutley will continue coverage of the Nutley High School Class of 2018 all week. 

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