By Gabrielle Mix, Special to the Independent
“Perseverance is incredibly powerful and the great thing is, everyone has it in them,” Lauren Tran, Laguna Beach High School’s 2018 valedictorian, said in her address to graduating seniors.
The Irvine Bowl at the Festival of Arts was filled Thursday, June 21, with supportive families and friends, who listened to creative speeches from students and faculty that evoked both tears and laughter.
Among these speakers was Lauren. With eight honors classes, 12 Advanced Placement classes, a 4.8 grade point average and three years of experience on the girls volleyball team, she represents the ideal high school valedictorian. Many would figure school came easily for her, but during her address Lauren revealed that perseverance and community led her to that podium.
“I definitely wouldn’t have been valedictorian if I didn’t learn to have a good work ethic… Working hard and diligently is incredibly important for life,” she said.
Lauren said though she experienced self-doubt in some classes, she is proud that she pushed through the frustration. Her grandmother proved a motivating force, eager to offer help. “I look up to her so much… when I have trouble, I always go to her,” she said.
Maintaining enthusiasm for academic studies became more natural for Lauren in her junior year when she realized she had a shot at becoming valedictorian.
Now, Lauren looks forward to a new chapter at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire where she is considering majoring in cognitive science.
Classmates, teachers and families cheered Lauren on just as they have in a similar fashion supported each other for the last four years.
When moving to Laguna from Orange in seventh grade, Lauren understandably felt nervous about a new environment. However, she was relieved and delighted by the welcome she received from the first day of middle school.
Teacher Mark Alvarez, selected by the class of 2018 as the graduation speaker, took a different path at the podium. He played a video of interviews with his students, who shared their favorite LBHS memories, fears and hopes for the future and thankfulness to their families.
Some interviews were tear-jerkers while others caused an eruption of laughter from the stadium, but all demonstrated the connection among the town’s residents.
Alvarez concluded his speech by reiterating what the video had already spotlighted. “The things you learn from connecting with other people are the most important, ” he said.
Senior speaker Hannah Vogel left her classmates with lessons she has learned and advice for the future.
“So here’s to diving into the great unknown, head first, eyes open,” Hannah said.
Joseph Ravenna, senior class president, compared his fellow classmates to architects who shaped the places they have lived. “I have never been so proud to be a part of something as I am to be a part of this class of 2018. So thank you and let’s continue being successful architects,” he said.
LBHS Senior Graduates 2018:
Aiden Afrasiabi, Sofia Airey, Anjelique Alexander, Nayir Alexander, Alexa Andersen, Ethan Anderson, Jacob Anderson, Adam Armstrong, Sofie Arrivillaga, Seryne Aryeh, Makena Augenstein, Salar Azarli, Jahsun Barrack, Delaney Basile, Christian Beatty, Beebe Bedell, Mark Berger, Nicolas Besso, Shad Betar, Maxwel Blanchard, Lucas Blow, Hailey Boehm, Alex Bonnin, Jacob Booth, Danielle Borelli, Zoe Bowman, Bianca Brock, Brianna Brown, Coby Bryan, Riley Bumgardner, Samuel Burgi, Blake Burzell, Sterling Butler, Bryce Campanelli, Raul Campos, Evie Cant, Nicolas Carpino, Chantele Carter, Sergio Castellanos Rojas, Luca Catalano, Anthony Cerdas, Lehar Chawla, Sawyer Chesley. Teva Clark, Luke Colburn, Savannah Colburn, Joseph Colladay, Casey Conley, Haley Conley, Tara Conley, Elliot Cook, Remington Cord, Amanda Corlett, Taylor Corrigan, Jaclyn Cortellessa, Carson Cushing, Sakhr Dabbas, Jane Darling, Darian Dastmalchi, John Daugherty, Michael Davidson, Spencer Davis, John DeBarber, Sean Decker, Boen DeGroote, Sophia Diaz-Anderson, Audrey Duffy, Sarah Dworakowski, Chloe Edep, Mara Eftimie, Olivia Eidt, Ramsey Elmewafy, Alexander Ensminger, Hillary Estreicher, Alana Evans, Jack Farley, Ariadne Fernandez, Zachary Fields, Edward Spencer Finkbeiner, Jared Firebaugh, Darla Fontenot, Dante Fornaro, Cole Fredlow, Geoffrie Frias, Dario Garcia Amini, Cameron Garcia Jurado, Makenna Gaynor, Matthew Ghere, Elena Gillespie, Lina Gleizer, Taylor Glenn, Francisco Godoy, Keila Gonzalez Reyes, Amanda Gort, Amber Gourley, Moragh Graf, Maxcy Grasso, Austin Hanlin, Curtis Harrison, Blake Hawkins, Tobin Herr, Hannah Hobrecht, Charlotte Hoffs, Justin Holm, John Houlahan, Sydne Huang, Charlie Hutson, Claire Hynes, Mia Imbernino, Caterina Jacobs, Sebastian Jacobs, Haylee Jarvis, Dulce Javier, Daisy Jeffers, Hunter Johnson, Savannah Johnson, Kasey Karkoska, Ethan Kavandi, Mila Kellam, Charles Keller, Kelly Keller, Michal Kerner, Andrew Keyser, Sidney Koziarz, Alden Kramer, Katherine Kruger, Grace LaMontagne, Luc LaMontagne, Jaimie Langner, John Langton, Nina Larsen, Reagan Lawson, Gabriel Leppo, Chloe Levine, Jacob Levine, Jack Loechner, Timothy Loughlin, Sophia Lucas, Massimo Lucidi, Blake Lusk, Marco Lybbert, Remy Mackel, Nathan Madigan, Perla Madrigal, Laura Martinez, Jack Mastroberti, Megan Mathews, Ivano Mavangira, Larsen McCarroll, Emerson McCune, Tyriq McGivern, Annika McGraw, Alexandra McKeown, Shasta McKinsey, Joshua McManus, Owen McMurray, Wyatt McMurray, Hailey Meister, Jordan Meiswinkel, Madelaine Melchor, Matteo Mesinas, Dylan Miller, Liv Mitchell, Katie Moore, Grady Morgan, Lucy Moriarty, Jessica Morrell, Natalie Mundy, Ruby Mussen, Alexander Neill, Nils Nietsch, Arianna Nugent, Clarissa O Connor, Jaden Orr, Enrique Palacios, Maddi Parent, Mackenzie Peasley, Lauren Perales, Alexandria Peros, Meg Peterson, Saylor Petzoldt, Samuel Pierce, Jacob Pietig, Angelina Polselli, Remo Polselli, Madeline Pontius, Vasco Possley, Aleya Post, Sorina Purcaroiu, Abigail Raether, John Raffo, Jose Ramirez, Marcus Randrup, Joseph Ravenna, Zander Raymond, Grant Richardson, Isabel Riches, BellaRose Robinson, Kassandra Rocker, Olivia Rosen, Calder Rosenthal, William Ross, Charles Rounaghi, Oliver Russell, Jessica Sands, Maxwell Sands, Dolce Sara, Kyle Sarris, Patrick Saunders, Marisa Schatz, Haley Schneider, Dylan Schreyer, Jamin Schwerner, Summer Scott, Julia Selin, Navid Shalchi, Benjamin Sharp, Kyle Sharp, William Shea, Sage Sheehan-Yost, Easton Shields, Jake Short, Akanksha Shukla, Jeremy Shutts, Parker Simpson, Louis Skaist, Shea Skenderian, McCall Sorenson, Jackson Spencer Shook, Siena St Clair, Nicole Stahman, Eilidh Stalker, Elizabeth Steinbach, Olivia Steiner, Jackson Stillwell, Miles Stripling, Lauren Struss, Joseph Sweet, Henry Syvertsen, Natalia Szeibert, Shiloah Tester, Guy Thomas, Renee Thomas, Evan Tingler, Matthew Torres, Lauren Tran, Garrett Tyler, Cole Van Riette, Hannah Vogel, Thea Walsh, Daoming Wang, Nova Wassmann, Peter Weiland, Kyla WhitelockRhian Williams, Nilson Wilson, Ian Winefordner, Kayla Wong Orellana, Amy You, Clay Zarinelli