When valedictorian Kevin Manouchehri took the stage on June 3 to address the Class of 2012, he considered a few different approaches before setting on a theme: perseverance.
Below is Manouchehri's speech.
"First of all, I know it’s hot, and everyone wants to get out of here. So I will be as brief with this speech as I can. As I waited until the last minute to write this speech, I thought about what the best way to sum up this great class would be. First, I thought about writing a beautiful poem.
Then, I remembered I’m awful at poetry. So, then I considered making this speech comedic and telling jokes the entire time. What better way to send this never serious, fun-loving class off than by having a funny speech?! However, the best choice soon became clear. I could sum up this class using one powerful word: perseverance.
My favorite quote regarding perseverance comes from Anonymous, who seems to have many famous quotes: 'Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path, and you will find you have crossed the mountain.'
I’m sure every person sitting here today can relate to this quote. For these past four years, there have been many amazing things accomplished as a result of stumbling and working even harder to go farther. It’s about losing in the first round of the playoffs as the No. 1 seed one year, then making the state championship the next year. It’s about losing 12 seniors from a 22-man team one year, then going undefeated with your best friends and J Squad the next year. It’s about doing poorly on a test, then studying even harder and doing well on the next tests and getting an A in the class. It’s about staying up late or seeking help to try to understand a subject that confuses you just to get a passing grade.
For different people, the mountain to cross has varied. For some, it was to graduate. For others, it was to get into a great college or be able to play sports in college. Whatever the end goal, the path everyone took was different. But, at the same time, we were all in this together. Sure, we had cliques and groups and drama like every class does, but we supported one another like no other class has. You would see the football players at the soccer games. You would see J Squad leading the cheering at the football games. The plays and musicals would have the majority of the student body in attendance. This was on full display in D.C. where you would see classmates with seemingly nothing in common except being a senior having full-blown conversations. We are truly ONE class who loves each other.
All of this success and togetherness did not just start in high school. It was a result of many years spent playing together, going to school together, and just spending time together. I went through the yearbook from 4th grade and counted that over 60% of our class was here then. We’ve grown up into the young men and women we are together. We’ve been through joyous times; we’ve been through sad times. All of this camaraderie was most apparent on the playing field.
This year alone, four conference championships were won, and the soccer, football, and baseball teams combined to go 55-7-1! Look around at all of the banners hanging in this gym! This was all years in the making, and it just makes it even more gratifying to have had such a successful and amazing senior year. It’s sad that it has come to an end, and I’m going to miss everyone like crazy, especially being a Tree in California. But it’s been a hell of a ride, and so many memories were made that we will never forget for the rest of our lives. Thank you, and God Bless.