After being there from the start, Clark Magnet High School principal bids farewell to the class of 2016.
By Brandon HENSLEY and Mary O’KEEFE
Wednesday’s graduation at Clark Magnet High School signaled the end of secondary education for 254 students, but it also marked the end of Doug Dall’s educational career.
Dall tendered his resignation as principal of Clark Magnet earlier this school year, ending his run of 36 years within Glendale School District. He wrote in his letter to GUSD in February that he will move on to pursue other employment opportunities.
Clark Magnet was established in 1998, and has since become a two-time National Blue Ribbon School and two-time California Distinguished School, both honors Dall was proud to mention during the ceremony. Dall’s school is also a seven-time Title I Achieving School, a two-time California Exemplary Career Technical Education School and a California Gold Ribbon School.
“I’m very proud of our staff, students, parents, GUSD staff and board members who over the years have made this level of achievement possible,” Dall said to the full quad of parents and friends. Dignitaries at the ceremony included new GUSD superintendent Winfred B. Roberson, assistant superintendent Dr. Maria Gandera, executive director Dr. Deb Rinder and Glendale Community College board member Anthony Tartaglia.
Dall attended Monte Vista Elementary in the late 1950s. He began his career at GUSD in 1980 at Woodrow Wilson Middle School as a career technical education teacher. In 1986 he moved on to Hoover High as dean of Students, and in 1994 he was assistant principal of curriculum and instruction at Glendale High.
The Measure K bond in the late ’90s allowed Clark, which was once a middle school, to be refurbished and reintroduced as a high school. Dall said he viewed the opportunity to be planning principal for the school as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
There were growing pains in the early years. Dall said students would get excited over the introduction of simple amenities.
“I heard things like, ‘Cool, a drinking fountain! Dude, the cafeteria’s open,’” he recalled.
He said he told the students one day they would look back and appreciate the experience of those lean years.
“There are still a few things we can’t deliver. There’s still a dress code,” Dall said. “Someday, you’ll appreciate that, too.”
Mostly, Dall was proud of what he and others accomplished in his 18 years, as the school has grown and provided a home to many low-income families around Los Angeles and students whose first language was not English.
“The impossible became the possible, and the students at Clark have made the possibilities a reality. Thank you for your support and all you do to make this a great school,” Dall said.
At Crescenta Valley High School, the Class of 2016 also walked across the stage to receive their diplomas. In all, the class served 59,322 community service hours and received over $1.3 million in scholarships.
Over the four years of high school most of the 664 students stayed up late doing homework, joined study sessions with friends and some cursed the day they decided that four AP (Advanced Placement) classes were not going to be that difficult.
“It was four years of belonging to something,” is how senior Ariel Amarkarian described her four years at CVHS.
In her senior address, Julia Lavarro addressed the Class of 2016 generation.
“We are part of Generation Z,” Julia Lavarro said as she addressed the Class of 2016. “The world is not quite sure what to make of us.”
She added her generation is the byproduct of technology and although critics may consider Generation Z entitled and selfish, she sees it differently.
“I [view it] not as self obsession but positive self interest,” she said.
She described it as making choices that benefits themselves but does not hurt others.
Lavarro praised her class’ accomplishments from having a paper published in a medical journal to working on legislation that made it to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.
Valedictorian Luba Djoneva had a 4.622 grade point average. She will be attending UC Davis in the fall and aspires to be a veterinarian.
Former GUSD board member Mary Boger had earlier presented a promotion certificate to her Rosemont Middle School grandson did double duty by presenting a CVHS diploma to her granddaughter Jessica Shumate.
Another special presentation was made by present GUSD board member Dr. Armina Gharpetian to her daughter Nazeli.
These students made lasting friendships, competed and excelled in sports, built robots, worked alongside doctors, danced, debated and volunteered for their community. They have the opportunities to explore a variety of careers and now face new challenges in higher education and the workforce.