Memorial To Labor Day – Guest Blogger/Speaker Klaudio Rroku

Memorial To Labor Day – Klaudio’s Speech

On June 25 th at Lehman College, Klaudio Rroku gave this Salutatory Address to the 2013 graduating class of Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx.

Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentleman! I feel honored to stand in front of this incredible graduating class. Thank You, I am truly humbled.

After talking with Ms. Fuentes about my speech and after a big debate on whether I should make a speech or not, I was ordered to make one. In previous graduating classes, the salutatorian and valedictorian speeches were checked and edited by Ms. Fuentes and others, but I stand here today to tell you that this speech…it was never checked or edited by any administrator at Columbus H.S. (Except Cathy, but she is not a Columbus Administrator, I consider her my 2nd Mother.)

So here I start…(smile)

Being a resident of two worlds does not constitute a full identity, but two halves, which lie next to one another, but never blend into one. I came to life in Albania, in the middle of happiness and warmth, in a world full of smiles. Later I took to the road with a suitcase of dreams for the very most logical reason: a better life.

In March 2008, my family would take that Alitalia AZ 614 flight from the capital of Albania to JFK airport. From the windows of the airport I watched the traffic lights pulse with vibrations that responded to my breathing. I was seeing in perspective this city where I would live, work, study, love and try to achieve my impossible dreams. Days later, I would discern the multilingual whispers that the wind brought over to my apartment, first in absolute silence and then broken by the rushing of the Subway trains, which in the Bronx wander above the underground. There was something in the magnificence of these voices that sent an invitation for exploration.

With each new day I try to find the balance between my two lives: the past in post-Communist Albania and the dreams here in the United States. Even though I seem to be smiling, an endless absence accompanies me, one that I cannot escape; one that hurts. For one thing I am certain: I am trying to take the next step in life toward completing my biggest dream, the education one.


And now here we stand. Our ruling is over, and it’s up to the next class to step into our shoes and take over. When we started HS we were counting the periods, days, months, semesters and years for this day to come. I know that as I look out at all of you, I will measure my time from now on in a much different way. I will measure it in all the friendships I’ve enjoyed these last four years. Some were pretty casual and others were much closer. And when many of our high school memories begin to fade, that’s how we’ll ultimately measure the time we spent here, not in periods or semesters or years, but in the friendships that we made and the times we shared.


Now, we are the bearers of society and civilization, like Plato, Leonardo da Vinci or Einstein — my point is: use the talents and degrees to reach the sky.

It was through hard work, and determination that we stood tough through the boring classes, tough physics or chemistry courses, the arrogant professor, or hard accent teacher and the mountains of books. Today you have become a hero, a hero to yourself, a hero to the community and a hero to the world, so clap hands for your achievements.


As we have grown older our scope of loyalty has increased with our experience. As small children our emotions and loyalty were centered in our immediate family.  Our love was for our family alone.  When we entered Middle School, we expanded our scope of loyalty to include our classmates, our teacher and our school. By the time high school arrived, we had broadened our loyalty to the community, to the state, to the nation, and to the world, while still maintaining our loyalty to family, friends, and school. I must say that the class of 2013 was the most involved class in politics and in electing representatives to city and state government.  This proves that the loyalty and care to our community has really expanded. I would like to repeat a quote said by President Kennedy in his Inaugural Address “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”


I urge you to have hope and stay motivated, because if you can get through high school you can do anything.

Lastly, do not forget to be a humanitarian, work for the good of the less fortunate.

Always reflect on how you can impact humanity through your chosen career path.

I wish you the best in all your endeavors. We met, and now we go our separate ways, but forever we are one.

Thank you and God Bless class of 2013 !!