Niko Vanden Heuvel

(Commencement speeches are submitted courtesy of the speakers and are not necessarily verbatim as to how they were delivered at commencement).

Dear fellow graduates, parents, staff, faculty, administrators, and other attendees:


It’s been a difficult journey. Its been stressful and overwhelming at times. I’m sure many of us here today have experienced similar hardships during these four years. But we did it.

We’re here today.

All of that dedication and work that every one of us here today put in has led to now. I’d first like to thank all of the parents, not just my own, for coming out to support their graduates. Your sacrifices has allowed many of them to succeed here today.

I have some people that I’d like to thank specifically for helping me succeed. I am fortunate to have had many friends these four years. They have been the ones that I can laugh with and also confide in. Even in some of my darkest moments, they have been there for me. So thank you, to name a few, to Dean, Hector, Karina, Magana, Skyler, Marissa, Lauryn, and many more.

Thanks for being real with me. I am truly fortunate to have grown up in an environment with such a loving and supporting family. I have seven siblings, which is a lot. They have provided me with so much love and have never been shy of letting me know that they are there for me. I look up to them and strive to achieve the same loving and kind attitude that they do.

The two most important people I’d like to thank are my mom and dad. My mom immigrated to the U.S from Belguim long ago so that she can live life in America. She has worked so hard so that I can be where I am today. Hanging out with you has always cheered me up, whether we watched different Netflix shows on the couch or went out for sushi. Love you mama.

And, of course, my dad. He was a teacher here in the Banning Unified School District for over 30 years. His experience teaching young minds has made me the man I am today. You read to me every night as a kid, remarking about how I would know the names of all different dinosaurs or cars. When I was going through rough patches, you did not force yourself to understand. Just being there for me was enough to help me feel better. Your presence in my life has helped me achieve success. For all of the

work you’ve done, you deserve an I love you Papa.

Once this commencement concludes, we will be off on our own paths, making our own decisions. Just know that if you got this far, you can go even further.

I wish good success for all of my fellow graduates.

Thank you.


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