Alexandria, VA – In April, Sen. Tim Kaine announced his “Everybody’s the Graduation Speaker” video contest. The idea was to allow graduating high school seniors all over Virginia a chance to give their ultimate graduation speech.
This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the rite of passage that is high school graduation, is not taking place. So Kaine took it upon himself to create a special memory for members of the class of 2020. He is selecting video submissions throughout May and June and posting them on his Facebook page.
Last week, Mathieu Zahlan, a 17-year-old T.C. Williams graduating senior, was featured. He took full advantage of his moment to shine in a four-minute video. In the powerful clip, Zahlan calls the class of 2020 “the shining light to come out of this pandemic, because we are anything but ordinary.”
The graduate shares that he and his fellow classmates are ready to accept challenges and make “a better future.”
The Zebra Press was recently granted an interview with Zahlan. He answered questions thoughtfully and thoroughly. It is evident from his responses that he is poised for greatness. The full transcript is below.
The Zebra Press: How did you feel when you heard you were selected for the video contest?
Zahlan: I was really excited to hear that my speech stood out. Quite frankly I was really surprised when I received the email from team Kaine. It felt rewarding to know that my speech will be featured on the Senator’s Facebook page and website.
The Zebra Press: What was going through your mind as you wrote your speech?
Zahlan: I wanted to tell the class of 2020 that a graduation is not just a ceremony or a party; but that it is a new beginning to bigger opportunities, and with the unfortunate current situations, we should step up and be heroes. I also wanted to take the opportunity to give thanks to everyone who supported the entire of the class of 2020 and me throughout the years.
The Zebra Press: Where will you be attending college?
Zahlan: I have been admitted in an Honors Political Science program in Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, I was also recruited into their Men’s soccer team, and I am very excited about playing college soccer.
The Zebra Press: What are your plans for the future?
Zahlan: I plan to continue my education after I receive my bachelor’s degree; and make a difference in my community, if not the world.
The Zebra Press: Last question. Have you written or given a speech before? What do you hope those who watch your speech will feel? Inspired? Moved? Hopeful?
Zahlan: I have not written a speech before, I had to do some research on how to write a speech. I really hop e to move everyone that listens to it and to inspire our generation to continue their education and to work hard and make a difference.
The Zebra congratulates Mathieu and all of T.C.’s graduating seniors!