Teen Perseveres Through Personal Tragedy, Graduates as Valedictorian
Updated: Wednesday, July 2 2014, 11:54 AM EDT
Among the graduating seniors in the Milton Hershey School's class of 2014, Kayvon Asemani admits, as he looks around at his classmates, that it is an emotional day.
"It's bittersweet," Kayvon said. "I know that I love this place and would love to keep doing what I'm doing here but it's also time to go - you can't be a high school student forever."
Kayvon has attended the school since he was nine, after a personal tragedy left him virtually orphaned. The talkative teen gets quiet when he reveals the events of the period after his third grade year. That summer his father tried to kill his mother at their home in Ellicott City.
"We were in the house...we heard a bunch of commotion early in the morning one day," Kayvon described. It's the last time he saw either parent. His father is now serving 30 years in jail and his mother has been in a coma since 2005.
Kayvon was sent to the Milton Hershey School in September 2006, a date he remembers well. The young boy earned high grades in middle school, which continued through his high school years, earning him the valedictorian spot and a role as student body president.
"Even though I am the valedictorian now I don't believe I'm the smartest kid in my class," Kayvon modestly states. "I just believe i worked very hard. And put the numbers up."
Kayvon doesn't dwell on the past, but says he puts his energy into working towards his future.
"Kayvon in particular, came here with such excitement, positive energy," President Peter Gurt said. "Not only for the students around him but for the adults. He seized every minute of every day to improve his circumstance."
His hard work has paid off, and Kayvon is moving on to attend an Ivy League School, the University of Pennsylvania. Kayvon says from here, he hopes to pay it forward.
"I want to be able to help underprivileged kids and underprivileged people the same way Milton Hershey helped me," Kayvon said.
Kayvon's brother and sister also attended the Milton Hershey School. To find out more about the Milton Hershey School and who qualifies to attend the prestigious school for children in need, CLICK HERE.