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


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