From Students to Graduates

Photos by Leonard COUTIN, Danny & Robin GOLDSWORTHY, Jeff KEEFE and Mary O’KEEFE
Photos by Leonard COUTIN, Danny & Robin GOLDSWORTHY, Jeff KEEFE and Mary O’KEEFE

A sea of green and blue blanketed the Crescenta Valley as Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley high schools each presented their Class of 2012.


It was promotion and graduation day on June 14 in Crescenta Valley. For most students in Glendale Unified School District, it was the last day of school and time to sleep in – at least for a while – but for sixth, eighth and 12th graders, it was all about pomp and circumstance and moving on.

Early in the morning, Rosemont Middle School eighth grade students were promoted to ninth grade and onto high school. Later that day, Crescenta Valley and Clark Magnet high school seniors walked the path to their diploma.

For CVHS, it was a new venue, from Stengel Field to the track and field at Glendale Community College. Family members and friends filled the stands, waving flowers, yelling their graduate’s name and trying to take a picture as their soon-to-be graduate received their diploma.

Carrie Ostler and Demitri Camperos gave senior addresses. Ostler reflected on how different each of the students were and how they were prepared to begin their lives, all traveling in separate directions. The one common bond between them, however, was Crescenta Valley and this graduation day.

Camperos, in his usual style, decided to approach the senior speech from a completely different angle. He quoted “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

Mixed in with words of wisdom from The Fresh Prince, Camperos touched on his years at CVHS and how resilient the students had been.

“Honestly, I was trying to think of a different slant [to the speech],” Camperos said.

Ostler and Camperos were chosen from a group of about 12 prospective students to deliver addresses.

“I had always known I wanted to try [to give the commencement speech],” Camperos said.

In fact, he had started on his speech before the school administrators had announced the date of the competition. The seniors performed their speech in front of a panel of teachers.

“We found out later that day that we had been chosen,” Camperos said.

His “Fresh” take made his classmates smile, although they had seen tragedy during their last year of school.

In February, sophomore Drew Ferraro took his own life by jumping from the third story of a building on campus. Camperos spoke of the tragic loss of a classmate and the strength his campus showed with their support of each other.

On Thursday, Camperos was able to weave humor and emotion in his speech while describing the Class of 2012.

He ended his speech with a Pokémon reference, which just seemed like a natural way to finish his comments.

Camperos enjoyed the new GCC venue. He had been to the commencement ceremony last year at Stengel Field.

“The parking was [easier at GCC],” he added.

At Clark Magnet High School, over 250 seniors gathered in the school’s amphitheater as a class for the last time.

Student Body President Sipan Ghazaryan led the Crescenta Valley High School Air Force JROTC, along with the rest of the audience, in a flag salute to commence the school’s 12th consecutive senior graduation.

Principal Doug Dall proudly emphasized the numerous times this graduating class stretched its goals and continued to exceed expectations.

“More students are taking more classes and challenging themselves,” said Dall, adding that it was hard to distinguish between the top five students because their grade point average difference was less than .012 of a point.

This year, the valedictorian title went to Erica Barin whose grade point average was an impressive 4.45.

Many seniors took classes at the local college while attending Clark, some earning over 80 college credits while they were still in high school.

PTA President Ida Mousessian’s watched her son, Loris, graduate with honors and a lifetime membership to the prestigious California Scholarship Federation.

“It’s amazing for every parent to see their kid graduate. I am fortunate that my kids are at Clark. It is an amazing school. We fell in love with Clark,” said Mousessian, who had a child already graduate from Clark and another graduating soon.

For many students, their educational career is a ways from being over. Minen Vartany plans to enter Glendale Community College where she will major in Communications and Narine Vartanian will become a pastry chef after attending Le Cordon Bleu.

Board of education Vice President Nayiri Nahabedian and Deputy Superintendent John Garcia had the honor of presenting the Class of 2012 with their diplomas.

At the end of the evening, graduates and their families enjoyed a reception that was sponsored by the Class of 2013, where they bid each other congratulations and shared fond memories of their time at Clark.