Meet Willowbrook’s class of 2023 graduation speakers

Can’t make it in person to Willowbrook's 64th commencement ceremony on May 21? No problem! The graduation will be streamed live at 1 p.m. (CST) online at

On May 21, Willowbrook seniors Neeraja Kumar (pictured at left) and Jade Inoshita (pictured at right) will address nearly 500 of their classmates as the student graduation speakers during Willowbrook’s 64th commencement ceremony.

Kumar was chosen to speak based on her academic standing (she is ranked in the top 5 percent of the class of 2023) and as President of the class of 2023. Inoshita will speak as Vice-President of the class of 2023.

Get to know Neeraja Kumar

Title of your speech: “Snubbing to Success”

Summary of your speech: My speech touches on my personal experience of graduating from Willowbrook, as several of my family members also are alumni, and the school has been an integral part of my family’s success. I also talk about the importance of finding yourself, overcoming obstacles and being the best version of yourself.

Lessons/advice you hope to share with your peers through your speech: Anything is possible – while life itself is never going to be easy, our ability to overcome the challenges we’ve faced during our high school experience has shown we all can persevere. It’s important to focus on the future and use the past as learning opportunities.

What does it mean to you to be a speaker during the commencement ceremony and to represent the class of 2023? It means a lot to me. I’m the fourth person in my family to speak on the Willowbrook graduation stage, as my mom, aunt and brother also were at the top of their classes. Serving as one of the student speakers is something I always wanted to accomplish, so it’s rewarding to meet that goal.

Involvement at Willowbrook:

  • Member of the Girls Badminton Team
  • Member of Willowbrook’s Youth Equity Stewardship (YES!) program, which strives to prepare students to recognize and learn from the diversity around them
  • Member of Speech Team
  • Member of Student Council
  • Member of Mock Trial
  • Member of DECA
  • Member of Business Professionals of America (BPA)
  • Member of The Brook Channel, Willowbrook’s student news channel

How Willowbrook has supported you: Willowbrook has given me so many opportunities to find myself and become comfortable. I’ve received tremendous support and love that I will greatly miss.

Your future plans: I plan to attend Harvard University, where I will pursue a major in Government and Communications.

Get to know Jade Inoshita

Title of your speech: “The Devastating Push to a Better You”

Summary of your speech: I share my personal experience of applying to 12 colleges/universities and only being accepted to my safety schools. It was devastating, but I had to reassess and choose who I wanted to be. I talk about how that challenge hasn’t stopped me and how I had to shift my attitude to view this as a new opportunity, rather than a failure.

Lessons/advice you hope to share with your peers through your speech: No one can do it for you – you have to do it for yourself. The world might not always be kind, so you have to use what you have to succeed.

Involvement at Willowbrook: I’m involved in several extracurricular activities, including:

  • Member of Student Council
  • Member of Science Olympiad

How Willowbrook has supported you: Willowbrook has allowed me to create connections that have helped me achieve what I want to accomplish. The staff members here are always looking out for me, and the school has a welcoming, community feel.

Your future plans: I plan to attend University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where I will pursue a major in biochemistry as part of the pre-med track.