Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sean's High School Valedictorian Speech

Earlier this week, after four years of hard work, AP and other extra credit classes, and maintaining nearly all straight As, Sean became the valedictorian of his high school class of 2013! It was a repeat performance for Sean since he was also the middle-school valedictorian at the same school four years ago. Sean will be continuing his studies at UC Berkeley this fall, majoring in Computer Science and as parents, we could not be prouder, of course!

Video of Sean's speech

Here is Sean's entire speech:
Good evening family, faculty, and friends. It gives me great pleasure to speak to you tonight and it’s an honor to represent the class of 2013 as your valedictorian. I would like to start out with a quote by Justin Bieber... just kidding, just making sure you’re all paying attention!
All kidding aside... Henry David Thoreau said: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."
I feel like I can speak for most of my classmates by saying we are ready to confidently go into the “real world.” Next year, most of us are lucky enough to attend college where hopefully we’ll further educate ourselves in something we love and have dreamt of. And if we want to jump into the workforce or pursue a passion of ours, we can attempt things without a fear of failing; there is nothing holding us back except for our own doubts.
Most of us have been told repeatedly over the years that we should know what we want to do after we graduate. But I would bet that most us—including myself—haven’t figured it out completely. And I think that’s okay. We don’t have to stick to the track that we’re on all the time—as long as we're going in the direction of our dreams, I think we’ll be alright.
l came to MCAA in seventh grade with a group of friends that I grew up with since preschool and a backpack that felt like it was filled with lead. A year later, most of my friends made plans to start high school in Nevada City. I wanted to transfer as well, but it didn’t work out. Every year after that, my friends tried to persuade me to make the move: there were more AP classes, sports teams like track, and—as one of one of my friends who shall remain nameless—put it so eloquently “hella hot chicks.” Was I missing out on the life I had imagined?
Over the years that followed, I made many great friends and it became evident that the teachers and staff at MCAA do their absolute best to help us succeed. Whether it’s Mr. Land spending his free period teaching me calculus problems I didn’t understand, Mr. Pimentel helping me with college applications, or Bonny making sure I ordered my graduation cap and gown on time (yes, that was a close call!), they were always willing and happy to help. I have no regrets about staying at MCAA. To the contrary; I've made long-lasting memories with great friends and received a solid education; I feel confident that I can now pursue my dreams.
So, how can we make sure that we will continue to follow our dreams? How can we make sure we don’t get stuck somewhere along the way? Of course I don’t claim to have the answers to these questions. There are people who are a lot older, wiser, and more experienced that this eighteen-year old high school graduate. But what I do know is this: we have to dream big. In the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.”
In closing, I would like to thank all the people who have helped to get me here:
First and foremost, my Mom. I don't think you deserve enough credit for all you've done to bring me here today, so I want to take the time to say in front of all these people that I love you. I can always count on you for good advice and helping me through tough times. You’ve taught me good manners and ethics from a young age. I hope you know I’m as proud of you as your are of me.
Dad: You’ve taught me that hard work pays off and you don’t have to take the traditional route to succeed. Regarding the procrastination part—I’m still working on that.
My brother Rocky: You’ll always be my best friend and the younger brother with whom I’ve shared a bunk bed for more than 12 years. Driving back and forth to school by myself everyday would have been a lot harder without my copilot and personal DJ. Try not to miss me too much next year and I’ll do the same.
To all of my friends, (you know who you are), I love all of you. I’ll miss you next year, but I know we’ll keep in touch. And finally, all the teachers and staff at MCAA. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be in the great place I’m in now. After all, It did take a village to raise this child.
Thank you for your time. 

See also: this newspaper article

Friday, June 14, 2013

Running the 2013 Tahoe Relay

Last weekend, we had the pleasure of joining over a thousand runners for the 49th annual DeCelle Tahoe Relay. This year would be the 5th time that Sean, Rock, and I would run and we had some runners from past relay teams as well as a few new runners on our 7-person team. Although it was a super hot day, we had great fun and we made it around the lake (72 miles) before the cutoff, which is all that mattered.  Turi—who returned for his third time on our team on short notice—wrote a great blog post about the run. Be sure to check that out and take a look at some of his amazing animated images there!

Rocky kicked off the run at 7 a.m. Prior to the race he had put together a few upbeat mixes for us all on his soundcloud page, which helped a lot. It was already warm at the start (last year our runner had to wear gloves).

I ran the second leg. Lots of familiar faces at Zephyr Cove relay stop, like Angel who coned off the tunnel as usual, and Ed and his wife who were timing the first leg for their 19th straight year. Thanks so much for your help, guys! I felt good and was able to run and powerwalk my way up to the top of Spooner Summit. Nowhere near as fast as a few years ago, but I was happy with the effort.

It was a hot day! The temperatures were already rising during the second leg of the course, which is usually still quite cool.

I handed it over to Pamela, who was joining is for the first time. She paced herself like a pro on the run to Incline Village. It was now downright hot!

Fourth was Damien, another new team member. He absolutely killed it on the course and just kept running and running--incredible job!

Leg 5 was Oliver's leg--back for his second relay with us.

Turi ran leg 6--arguably the hardest leg of the entire relay. While we were waiting for Turi with water on the side of the road, an angry local almost called the sheriff on us for trespassing (read: parking on the side of the road and peeing in the woods!) Oh well. Also, at this time, our second support car broke down and had to be towed to Truckee, so unfortunately we lost Oliver's dad and Pamela and Damien. We would catch up with them at dinner though.

And then Sean brought it home, running an amazingly fast last leg and bringing us in at 12:30 and change. What a great day.

Another successful relay. We drove to Truckee to meet up with the rest of the team (minus Turi) and had a delicious team dinner at the 50/50 Brewery. We'll definitely be back for the 50th anniversary next year! A big thanks to Vicky for all the support during the race!

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