‘Some of your greatest strengths will come from your greatest struggles’

City Council President Andrea Campbell delivered the following remarks to the Class of 2019 at TechBoston Academy’s graduation ceremony in Dorchester on Wed., June 5:

“I can’t make it to every graduation, but TechBoston is a special school that I am so proud to have in my district — which is primarily Dorchester and Mattapan — so I imagine I have the honor to represent many of you on the Boston City Council!

“Ninety-seven percent of the class is graduating — higher than the national average — something we need to be celebrating. This is what Dorchester is about! Where is the media to report that?

“As someone who was born and raised in Boston, I know that the journey to graduation today has not necessarily been easy or straightforward. I myself went to five different BPS schools, getting bused from Roxbury to East Boston, to Charlestown, to the South End, before finally ending up at Latin School.

“I know how hard each and every one of you has worked to get to this moment, and I am so proud to be here today to celebrate you, your journeys, your achievements, and your futures!

“Thank you to the entire TechBoston community for supporting these young men and women to make it to today’s graduation, and beyond. I am grateful to the teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, and coaches that have built and sustained a strong, supportive, ambitious environment for students to learn and reach to the next level.

“I also want to thank the families who are here. None of us reaches our God-given purpose or dreams without love, support, encouragement, advice, and counsel. I was blessed to have a biological parent, foster parents, and now an aunt and uncle who serve as my parent figures to help me reach my purpose. Whether you are biological fathers, mothers, grandmothers, aunts or uncles, foster parents or guardians, thank you for loving and supporting these incredibly talented young adults.

“I think it’s important to be here today because the work I do on the Boston City Council is inspired by each of you, the young women and men who live and go to school in my neighborhoods. While my two brothers and I all graduated high school, I went off to an elite university, but the two of them cycled in and out of the criminal justice system. I eventually lost my twin brother, Andre, who died from an illness at the age of 29 while being held in the Department of Correction.

“When I think about why this happened, education and opportunity come to mind first. A good education and access to jobs and other opportunities for growth should be available to all, but they aren’t, especially and unfortunately for those who live in Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury.

“Losing my twin brother was devastating, but it also helped me find my purpose: to serve my community in a role that allows me to work on policies that will ensure we do not continue to get disparate life outcomes.

“I share my story often because I want each of you to know that some of your greatest strengths will come from your greatest struggles. I want you to be proud of where you come from and have the courage to share your own unique stories and your families’ unique stories.

“Each and every one of you has a unique purpose, and if you don’t yet know what it is, trust that you will find it. And I am right downtown at City Hall, so call on me if I can help!”