Congratulations SPHS Class of 2020! | A Rite-of-Passage in Unprecedented Times Met with Courage

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic and national protests, Janet Anderson was convinced SPHS graduates had many special and useful attributes

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation

About 30 years ago, Janet Anderson learned about the concept of being nimble as it relates to adapting to change. 

“If ever there was a class that is experiencing the need for nimbleness, it is the Class of 2020,” explained Anderson, the South Pasadena High principal, who has watched this year’s student body, including about 320 graduates, adjust to a new way of life when it comes to education.”

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation; Principal Janet Anderson hands out diplomas
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation

She insists, “This is a good thing,” noting, “there will be many circumstances in life that require adaptation, so to learn and value flexibility early in life is a gift.”

PHOTO: Lynne Chavez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation

Enduring the unforeseen challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its significant toll on people all across the world, impacted their lives with the physical closure of the high school campus 11 weeks ago. If that weren’t enough, on Memorial Day came the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on his neck for more than eight minutes as he grunted “I can’t breathe.”

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation

Long before those incidents, Anderson was convinced that the SPHS Class of 2020 had many special and useful attributes, pointing out, “through their response to the early end of their high school days, they have again proven how positive, resilient, and nimble they are,” she said. “This is a particularly memorable year for a particularly enjoyable and memorable senior class. I send them on their way with love and congratulations as they graduate from South Pasadena High School!”

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation

Following a drive-through graduation ceremony on Wednesday night, the class was invited to watch a virtual ceremony on computer screens. The program featured all the traditions of the usual outdoor event inside the school’s stadium, including the playing of the National Anthem on the violin, speeches, introduction of distinguished guests (the superintendent and Board of Education members), presentation of the class by Anderson, presentation of the class gift and diplomas, a farewell message by the senior class vice president and, yes, the singing of the school’s alma mater.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation

New and different were pictures and videos of the drive-through ceremony and submitted pictures of graduates from parents and students.

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation

The SPHS Class of 2020 Valedictorians include: Quyen Ballagh, Sam Clark, Nova Dea, Elizabeth Haidar, Michael Jia, Teryn Kum, Charles Liu, Tianhao Wei, Braden Wong, Barnett Yang and Sarah Zenas. The salutatorians are Evan Kowal and Albert Zhou.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation

Senior Class Officers: Joseph Lee, president; Cole Fox, vice president; Christian Montoya, secretary and Tyler Lieu, treasurer.

Beginning Monday, a graduation photo backdrop was installed outside of the school’s auditorium, where families gathered – with social distancing, of course – while seniors were given an opportunity to take pictures in caps and gowns.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation

No one saw the turmoil coming at the start of the 2019-20 school year as the mental toll of the coronavirus and subsequent George Floyd situation unfolded, forcing students, parents and teachers to cope with a new normal of social distancing, virtual learning and, of late, national grief as the United States has been shaken to its core.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation; Board of Education member Ruby Kalra
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation; Board of Education President Michele Kipke

Had he been around, perhaps Martin Luther King, Jr., would have said it best as those who have spent their final high school days in South Pasadena say goodbye to the campus.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope,” said the slain civil rights activist.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation; teachers and faculty applaud the graduates
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Class of 2020 Drive-Thru Graduation