Rachul Lu couldn’t have said it any better, describing the conclusion of four years of attending classes, social and sporting events and, in away, saying goodbye to South Pasadena in her speech entitled “End of an Era” during South Pasadena High’s Graduation Ceremony Wednesday afternoon at Roosevelt Field.
Before 362 seniors pulled their tassels from the right side of their caps to the left, marking the end of their high school days, Lu told the large gathering in the crowd, “South Pas has always been described to me as my ‘last’ – last move, last school district, last chance to call somewhere ‘my home.’ And thinking back, given the bubble-like, small town of South Pasadena, I couldn’t fathom how I would fit here, if SP would welcome me. I had never done AYSO, been to the Fun Fair, as I’ve been told and mom still only donates to SPEF for the sign. And Yet, I do now consider South Pas my hometown, and the Class of 2019 my own.”
In quick fashion, the ceremony was completed in just under an hour following the procession, the National Anthem performed on the flute by Amalia Navarro and Andrew Escajeda, a welcome message by Senior Class President Henry Barbera, speeches by Lu, Natalie Deng, and Lauren Kafkaloff, the introduction of distinguished guests Senior Class Secretary Kelly Mirhan, presentation of class by SPHS Principal Janet Anderson, presentation of Diplomas by Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz, Board of Education President Dr. Suzie Abajian, the presentation of a butterfly garden as the class gift by Senior Class Treasurer Melia Amezquita, a farewell message by Senior Class Vice President Laya Jabalemili, and the singing of the school’s alma mater for the final time as a class.
At that point the caps went flying and many of the graduates danced and sang along to Earth Wind and Fire’s “September,” capturing the mood of the ceremony’s theme “Do You Remember?”
Those who spoke remembered four memorable years at South Pasadena High and the city in which they grew up. “Together, we got to enjoy the rarity of the South Pasadena High School through the heartwarming community it fosters and the speed at which it goes,” said Lauren Kafkaloff in her “Counting Up the Days” speech in front of the packed bleachers inside Ray Solari Stadium. “From the friendsgivings to the football games, these four years have been packed with endless sparks of both euphoria and sorrow.”
Added Lauren Kafkaloff: “High school is not a mere four-year commitment. These friendships and these memories don’t die with age, but rather, they age over time. In fact, when our paths diverge and we start meeting new people, I can assure you we’ll be caught bragging about out little town we call South Pas. We’ll be describing the Fourth of July Parade we once walked in or the weekly farmer’s market we always went to…”
Natalie Deng talked about “Puzzles & Cheez-Its” her goodbye message, sprinkling in the idea of eating Cheez-Its while completing a myriad of tasks during her years in high school.
“So graduates, you might be wondering ‘where do we go from here,’” she said. “To be honest, I can’t answer this question for you, or offer life-changing advice, but I do want to say this. From this day on go forward in life and pursue what fulfills you. Just know that you have come too far and eaten too many Cheez-Its to let some jerk tell you now that your puzzle doesn’t look right, or that you’re building it too slowly. Because you made it this far. So why not go further.
In the long-term, the South Pasadena High Principal Janet Anderson will tell you future looks bright for the 2019 graduates.
In the short term, well, they’re headed to Disneyland to enjoy Grad Night.