When Amir Iranmanesh takes the stage at this year’s Freedom High graduation ceremony to give his valedictorian speech, he won’t be thinking about his GPA, which he says is 9.14.
The 18-year-old will be remembering his late grandmother, the most influential person in his life.
“Everyone says this about their grandmas, but mine was the purest, most innocent person in the world,” says Amir, who describes himself as very family-oriented. “She was magical — every time I make a decision, I pause to consider what she would do.”
Amir believes his achievement would have been impossible without his parents, who emigrated from Iran before the 1979 revolution that threw their home country into chaos and raised their children to make their own decisions since they were young.
“My parents have always put a lot of trust in me, and gave me enough love to motivate me to want to do good things,” says Amir, who also credits his brother Eamon and sister Elhaam for their support.
Amir says he didn’t intentionally aim for the top rank in his class. He had a “passion for math” and wanted to learn as much of it as possible, so he began taking dual enrollment courses at Hillsborough Community College as soon as he could.
“Understanding math truly opens a whole new perspective on the world,” says Amir, who especially enjoyed algebra and calculus but also took extra courses in literature, public speaking, visual arts and computer science.
Amir’s strategy was to fill up his school days with homework and extracurricular activities and reserve Fridays and Saturdays for spending time with family and friends.
He competed for Freedom’s swim team for three years, and was a member of the school’s National Honor Society. He also served as an officer in multiple organizations at school, including the Rho Khappa National Social Studies Honor Society, Model United Nations and Future Business Leaders of America.
Amir helped others succeed in the classroom, too. He created a year-long math tutoring club staffed by student and teacher volunteers during their lunch hours, and also collected more than 3,500 book donations for the New Tampa Regional Library.
The future businessman currently serves as the treasurer of the student body-elected Executive Board of the HCC Dale Mabry Student Government Association. He manages a nearly $650,000 budget, votes on how to use the money during weekly board meetings and helps run general student body meetings on Tuesdays.
Although undecided at our press time where he will attend college, Amir says he plans to attend somewhere in Florida to remain close to his family.
Amir says he draws inspiration from his parents — father Ali, a civil engineer who owns a company with Amir’s mother Parvin, a former social worker.
“I plan to major in business so I can learn everything about how companies work, then invest in real estate once I have a steady income,” Amir says.
Amir traveled back to his native Iran last month for an extended vacation, exploring new cities and visiting family. He also took time to pay his respects at the grave sites of his three late grandparents and reflect on what he might do someday to alleviate the country’s crumbling economy.
“It’s upsetting to see people from my own city suffer and struggle to pay for food,” he says. “Whatever my journey is, it will surely consist of me giving back to my hometown.”
Freedom High’s 2019 graduation ceremony will be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds on U.S. 301 in Tampa on Thursday, May 30, at 9 a.m.