Sunnyside High School class of 2019 valedictorian speeches delivered by Annette Alcantar and Briteny Zhu during Friday night’s graduation ceremony featured compelling stories of how their parents’ inspired journeys and sacrifices provided them with the drive to succeed.

Overflowing with heart-filled emotions, their stories were about overcoming obstacles and confronting challenges head on — there was no option for quitting.

Maybe there was, but because of their parents’ example to provide for their children, my feeling was they wouldn’t have quit, and they didn’t because they stood tall in front of Grizzly Nation for all to hear.

The lessons their parents carried out each and every day for them to witness first-hand was that obstacles are not obstacles unless you choose for them to be.

Upon hearing that narrative account of truth, I put down the camera for a moment to appreciate the moment and gain an understanding of the honor in attending and covering the ceremony.

For Alcantar and Zhu, their future began when their parents stepped foot in the United States. They risked everything for their children, which was their purposeful duty as parents and a role they embraced.

And, on this night, they listened and watched their daughters speak of their strength and desire to achieve because of their parents who recognized the importance of recognizing the future — just like all the family members in attendance cheering on the Class of 2019.

Patrick Shelby can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 110 or email

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.