By Riva Rubin
Eighth grade, the momentous transitionary period of junior high to the four blossoming years of high school. To properly honor the time students have spent in this period and send them off with an inspirational farewell, Pinewood welcomes back Frederick Vallaeys, but this time as the eighth grade graduation speaker.
Vallaeys graduated from Pinewood in 1996 and currently is the co-founder and CEO of Optmyzr, a PPC (pay-per-click) management software system. While the company itself is very successful with numerous awards including “Best PPC Management Suite” during the 2018 US Search Awards, Vallaeys himself is a highly accomplished individual who was also one of Google’s first 500 employees.
Vallaeys immigrated to the United States from Belgium and spoke rather broken English. Despite this, Pinewood saw his intelligence and room for lingual growth and accommodated his needs in order to help him excel. Later he attended Stanford University, and then began his own software company.
“I give a lot of speeches about how to be successful in digital marketing but this will be a nice chance to mix it up a bit and give the new graduates advice that they can use as they embark on the next phase of their lives,” said Vallaeys on his experience presenting to larger audiences.
When asked what wisdom he hopes to impart on the students, Vallaeys looks forward to teaching three specific pieces of advice. The first being that success is in the hands of the eighth graders, and that not only includes how they achieve it, but how they actually define it.
“[You] should define success based on what personally matters to [you]. The media portrays success one way, but that doesn’t mean you need to define your own success by those standards,” Vallaeys said.
He also stressed the importance of embracing everything that comes one’s way, “I want them to know there are many paths to success, and that some failures along the way can really shape individuals so long as they learn from them rather than getting discouraged.”
“Kindness, positivity, and making time for fun will go a long way in attaining success in life,” said Vallaeys.
It’s important to balance your priorities to obtain whatever you may define success as, something Vallaeys will expand on during his presentation.
A Pinewood alum comes back every year to give an inspirational speech to the eager eighth grade student body. The class of 2019 is certainly going to be inspired following the speech of Frederick Vallaeys, so there is much to look forward to this eighth grade graduation!