The picture of the front page of the June 13, 2012 issue of the Akron Beacon Journal (ABJ) shows Nirmala (Nilam) Ghimirey, as photographed by ABJ photographer Ed Suba, as she stood in the entrance to Akron North High School. This picture illustrated the article about Nilam written by Jewell Cardwell, a popular reporter for the paper.
The article was prompted by the standing ovation Nilam's valedictorian speech received at the Greek Community Temple in Akron, Ohio, on June 6, 2012.
Reporter Cardwell helped to arrange Nirmala's cap, gown, and honors cords (see below left). Ed Suba, ABJ photographer, laid on the ground to get the right angle for the picture that appeared on page one of the June 13, 2012 Akron Beacon Journal while Jewell Cardwell supervised the shoot (see below right).
Jewell's article talked about Nirmala's refugee camp experience, the refugee resettlement program, her valedictorian speech, her plans for the future, and how important her volunteer activities were in her success.
Valedictorian Speech, North High School, Nirmala Ghimirey, June 6, 2012
Good evening classmates, parents, teachers, principals, counselors, family and friends…. I speak to you on behalf of the North High School graduating class of 2012. It is good to be here tonight. It has been good to be at North High School for the last four years.
Our class is ready for the future. Our achievements will be a reflection of North High School for the next 50 years. We are the class of 2012, and we are the future!!!
I want to thank all those who have helped us get to this point in life. Graduates, we must remember the help and support we have received from our parents, teachers, counselors, families, friends, and mentors. And we are very grateful to them. We would not be where we are today without them.
Some of us have lived in Akron all of our lives, and others have come from many different countries. Some came from very difficult situations. But tonight, we are one group and we are all happy to be in this room. We have gotten a good education and have ideas about our futures.
This year our class had a senior fun day and picnic, prom, senior breakfast, and senior auction. Every day we went to classes, studied, and looked forward to graduation. I want to praise you, my classmates for your achievements, for working hard, and for working well together.
As I reflect on what my future may hold, I recall that my journey began when I was born and raised in a refugee camp in Nepal after my family was forced out of Bhutan. We lived in a bamboo hut with no running water or electricity. We got rice rations once a month and had to make them last or go hungry. My parents made a great sacrifice to bring me from the refugee camp in Nepal to the United States.
In the refugee camp there was only today. I had no dreams for the future. What I have learned is that there can be a tomorrow. There can be a dream for the future.
Coming here with no knowledge about the culture of the United States was a real challenge. I had to work hard to learn the language and customs of this country. I am fortunate to make it to this point. I believe that everything comes from within us. You have to believe in yourself. Everyone is smart in one way or another and you have to keep on learning through every experience. No matter what your situation is, you have to believe in yourself. And you need a positive outlook to make your life better.
The economy is bad and jobs are hard to get. So it is important for all of us to get more education and training to succeed in the future. Some of us may go on to college, some may get jobs, and some may go into the armed services. Whatever each of you chooses to do, I wish you the best.
As life goes on, we will make our own futures. In conclusion, we each have a future and we are the future!
Click on the following link to read the full article in the Akron Beacon Journal.
Selected activities of BCAA members are chronicled in this blog by Terry Kuhn.