You must pronounce my name Naomi, like what you call some of the females among you. I wouldn’t know how to convey the sound outside of my native language, but what have we lost? A label is no more than a shortcut. You should get to know me and call me what you will.
One is assigned a number at birth where I’m from. I understand it’s the same way here. If no record were kept, the threat of chaos would arrest us. And we all like to maintain order despite our vain demands for freedom. Anonymity is a romantic dream turned nightmare when realized.
I only know this because my own identity was a secret from all but the doctor and God for ten years. My mother and father got a clever tale and a free bundle of joy; I got a new life and a tough riddle to solve.
Our doctors back at home are above reproach, not obligated to the law of the land but trusted to make the right decision in every case. I’d like to change that condition, but no one ever asked me what I think before now.
So I’d like to thank all thirty-six of you for giving me this platform. You should know what a rare honor it is to be called upon by my peers. I have worked hard to finally arrive, and you’ve given me an even warmer welcome than expected. Your citizens have exceeded all my naive hopes.
Today we stand together on the brink of a new year ready to face the unknown. Ms. Brown is more a guide than a teacher, since our lessons will reveal themselves. Later, we will praise her for showing us the path. None of this should feel like a chore.
No matter what happens here, let’s all promise to be kind. I may struggle to catch up at times. Please forgive the ignorance that I will no doubt display. Just know that I never err without correction and I may on occasion seek your help in providing it.
You have my deepest gratitude, new friends, for agreeing to host me on Earth, for accepting the future with open hearts.
- Class speech, Cherokee High, 2026