“In this outward and physical ceremony we attest once again to the inner spiritual strength of our nation. As my high school teacher, Miss Julia Coleman, used to say: ‘We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.’”
~ Jimmy Carter
By Mary O’KEEFE
he students of the Class of 2014 at Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley high schools sat in the sun on Tuesday and listened to administrators and fellow students say goodbye and wish them well on their future journey.
At Clark, the commencement ceremony held on the school campus was bittersweet, with seniors excited about moving forward with their lives while saying a sad goodbye to the teachers and friends who made their four years special and successful. This was the first commencement since longtime administrative secretary Barbra Melone passed away. The administration and the students felt the loss.
There was bit of a surprise, though, when it came to naming the valedictorian – three students walked away with that honor: Alan Tirdad Begian, Sheina Sakhrani and Tatevik Stepanyan all earned a 4.48 grade point average.
CVHS enjoyed its second year of hosting the commencement ceremony on the school’s campus. For years, graduation was held at Stengel Field; then, when those stands fell to disrepair, the ceremony was held at Glendale Community College. Last year, GCC was not available and talks turned to where this displaced ceremony could be held. The decision, with overwhelming support, was to hold it at home, on the Falcon track and field. The tradition continued on Tuesday and, thanks to a generous Class of 2014 gift, the Class of 2015 will also enjoy its ceremony on the home field.
This was CVHS Principal Linda Junge’s first commencement as principal. She praised the graduates not only for their academic success but also for their compassion.
“In addition to being smart and hardworking, this group of students are kind, compassionate and altruistic,” she said. The Class of 2014 has logged 67,324 hours of community service.
“These are good people,” Junge continued. “Students, I am proud of all of you for your hard work, persistence and giving spirits; these traits will take you far.”
Junge announced the name of valedictorian – Joshua Kim, who earned a grade point of 4.6246 and, along with his twin brother, will attend Princeton University in the fall.
Jacob Wisda’s senior address spoke of the continuation of education, not only in the classroom but also in the world.
“Education is not only relevant while you are in school, it must also take place outside of school,” he said. He added that high school graduation was not the end of education, but the continuation of a trend that had been going on all their lives.
“Your education will never lose its relevance no matter how old you get or what station you achieve in employment,” Wisda said.
Junge congratulated the students and thanked them for the almost 500 pennies that were handed to her by the students as they accepted their diploma. This was the senior class prank and Junge thought it was very funny, although a bit confused by the pennies.
As the high school graduates left their campus, new Falcons prepared to come aboard as Rosemont Middle School eighth graders were promoted in a Tuesday morning ceremony.
Eighth grader Martin Rosa gave a class speech in which he thanked his fellow students for the family atmosphere they created. He had arrived at the school half way through his seventh grade year. He was nervous at first that he would not fit in; however, he found that was not the case.
“I was welcomed with open arms. That is when I realized here at Rosemont we are one big family, and I am proud to say I am part of that family,” he said.
He was candid in stating his journey to get to middle school was not easy but thanked his family and teachers for their support. He said he took to heart the Rosemont creed of “Honor, Excellence and Pride.”
“And now, all eighth graders look to the person to your right and to your left,” he told his peers. “The people you just saw are the future of our nation and everyone is counting on us to make the world a better place, so let’s not let them down.”
To see more of the graduation and promotion ceremonies throughout the foothills, visit the youth section starting on page 11. More photos can also be found online at www.cvweekly.com/YOUTH.
Photos by Dan HOLM, Robin GOLDSWORTHY, Leonard COUTIN and Mary O’KEEFE