Gibby Thomas elected Valedictorian

Simon Yang and Steven Borodkin

The Class of 2019 elected Gibby Thomas (12) last Friday as the valedictorian who will deliver a commencement speech at this year’s Upper Division Graduation.

“I was very grateful to see that people thought highly enough of me to vote for me,” Thomas said.

“I find it interesting that our valedictorian system involves students voting rather than selecting the person with the highest GPA,” Hannah Long (12) said. “The valedictorian should represent our grade, so it makes sense that the grade chooses someone they feel can best represent them and their high school experience.”

Nicholas Perry, the Dean of the Class of 2019, has been thrilled about the whole process of the valedictorian election, he said.

“The valedictorian is supposed to give a speech recognizing the experience of the class as a whole,” Perry said. “That the class decided to recognize Gibby, who has worked so hard to add life to the school in so many different ways, was extra special,” he said.

Janvi Kukreja (12) believes that Thomas best represents the Class 2019 because she is close with everyone in the grade, she said.

“If you are walking in the hallway with her, she will say hi to every single person,” Kukreja said. “She has a really good sense of what everyone in the grade likes and how they’ve progressed throughout the four years.”

“I believe it is important to have some sort of relationship with everyone, and I think perhaps that’s why I was selected to represent my grade,” Thomas said.

In her commencement speech, Thomas hopes to address how grateful she is for all the faculty members and classmates who have helped her during her high school experience, she said.

“The reason I love Horace Mann is because of the students and the faculty, and I want to make sure to convey that in my speech,” Thomas said.

“Gibby has been everywhere. She’s a presence in the classroom, on the tennis courts, in the theatre, as a mentor and tour guide, with her friends and classmates,” Perry said. In all of her roles, she genuinely wants the best for the community around her. [Her] unfailing sense of curiosity, kindness, and fun…is essential to the class, he said.

Thomas will also try her best to represent the many aspects of her grade in her speech, keeping in mind the diversity of the Class of 2019, she said.

Allen Park (12), a close friend of Thomas, believes that she represents a great balance between athletics, academics, and social awareness, he said. “Her ability to handle everything so well while also being friendly with everyone respects the best traits in our grade.”

In addition to such talents, Thomas’s special ability to make everybody in the class laugh is invaluable, Young Joon Kim (12) said.

Hannah Long (12) is excited to have Thomas as the valedictorian, she said.

“I was honored to co-captain the tennis team with her just because she is just so positive, enthusiastic, fun, and friendly to everyone,” Long said. “It’s honestly no surprise that she has become close with so many people in our grade.”

Thomas’ election did not come as a surprise to many members of the grade, Nader Granmayeh (12).

“I’m really happy for her,” Granmayeh said. “She’s a great member of the class, nice, and thoughtful, and I know she’ll give a great speech. Everybody knows that she’ll take it very seriously and put a lot of work into it,” he said.

“Everyone in our grade is very close to each other, and I want to make sure to convey that in my speech, as it is what makes us so special,” Thomas said.