Anna Chang’s Graduation Speech


Anna Chang (R), Valedictorian, and Cecilia Chak (L), Salutatorian, lead the class of 2019 into the Richmond Auditorium for the graduation ceremony.

Anna Chang, Valedictorian, PVHS Class of 2019

This is the full text of the Class of 2019 Valedictory speech:

Good evening friends, family, faculty, and of course, Spartans of the Class of 2019.

My name is Anna Chang, and I will be your valedictory speaker tonight.

Over the past few years, we have created many unforgettable memories at Portable Valley. We were hall swept in non-existent halls. We enjoyed “nutrition breaks” and deciphered through at least five versions of the same schedule during testing days. We dodged seagulls on the football field. We had the speakers break down during rallies. And most importantly, our restroom was set on fire(?)

We are the last class graduating from our five-year-old portable campus. It’s a bittersweet situation, finally continuing onto the next chapter of our lives but having to say goodbye to the orangey-brown collection of buildings we made our home for the last few years. However, I think we made the most of it while it lasted.

I will never forget Mr. Rossi’s karaoke on every last day of school, Mr. Frattini winning homecoming emperor, looking out a classroom window to see our band marching outside and not only being confused but also panicking since I’m a part of the band.

We all figured out exactly how to navigate our high school — literally, in the sense of figuring out the best routes to avoid the unbelievably slow crowds during passing period, but also academically and socially. Through various sports, clubs, and simply classes, we all found our circles and developed strong relationships with friends that have helped us power through the tough times.

Attending high school on a portable campus has not been easy. Facilities like an auditorium, gym, lockers, and *roofs * were unavailable. When it rains, Portable Valley becomes Puddle Valley. (I didn’t make that up myself.) But despite these obstacles, our school community has been able to adjust and make the best of our circumstances. For example, for school-wide rallies, we used two separate time blocks to fit everyone in the bleachers; our band performed concerts at De Anza’s auditorium, and sports teams held practices off-campus. During the fires this school year, our outdoor campus was unprotected from the smoke, yet the majority of students still attended school. These are just a few examples of our students’ dedication and flexibility.

These accommodations were usually inconvenient, and sometimes it was difficult to feel a sense of belonging on a temporary campus. Yet, we found our ways to make PV a bit more homey and show school pride. Some of the most prominent were the artwork that covers the buildings, such as the umbrella murals on upper campus and the map of PV classrooms displayed at the front of the school. I also think that we prided ourselves on the idea of being the underdogs. Some people did not think Pinole Valley was capable of providing a robust educational experience for its students, and we proved them wrong.

Our great experiences at Pinole Valley would not have been possible without the commitment of our staff, families, and friends. With that said, I’d like to give thanks to some individuals who have helped me through this journey. Thank you Kibby for always being supportive of your students and doing beyond what anyone could ask for in a principal. Thank you Mr. Wright for cheering me on from the beginning. Thank you to all of my teachers who provided me with the foundation that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my academic journey. Thank you to the upperclassmen who set a great example for us early on. And lastly, thank you to my family for being my biggest support. All of these people have served as my motivation to work harder and strive for the best. At PV, I always felt cheered on by people who genuinely want to see us succeed.

I would also like to remember a teacher who is not with us today, Mr. Mazaheri. Mr. Maz was my very first teacher at Pinole Valley. His class was the toughest I had ever taken at the time, but he made the content so fascinating. His explanations were sometimes complex, but I always came out having a deep understanding of what we were doing. He not only fostered my interest in math, but he prepared me better than any other teacher could have for the rest of my academic journey and inspired me to continue challenging myself. Mr. Maz was not only an amazing educator who believed in the potential of all his students but a genuinely kind, funny person. I am so grateful to have had him for two courses at Pinole Valley, and I would like to use this opportunity to properly thank him for everything he has done for me and his students.

Mr. Maz was just one example of the many amazing individuals that helped me grow at Pinole Valley. From the counselors who helped me make important academic decisions to teachers who were caring enough to discuss my college and career goals with me, there was always someone trusting to turn to when I needed support. Thank you again to everyone who has been monumental in my high school journey.

At Pinole Valley, I learned that your education is only what you make of it. I hope that all of the graduates here today prove to the world that no matter where you start out, you can achieve great things. People who cheat the system will never experience the true satisfaction of putting in your everything and finally seeing it pay off at moments like these, heading off to our next journey at spots that we earned, whether it be in college, trade school, the military, or the workforce. I’m so honored to be a part of this group of talented individuals, and we should all be incredibly proud of each other.

And for my final time: That’s how we roll in Pinole on Friday, June 7th. Thank you.