As 329 seniors moved their tassels from right to left in unison on Friday, June 9, the South Pasadena High School Class of 2017 graduated at the 111th commencement.
The convocation began at 5:00 p.m. in front of a packed grandstand. Senior Class President Katherine Conte welcomed the crowd and held a somber moment of silence for the late teacher Mr. Jim Asher, who passed away less than two weeks before the end of the school year. This was followed by speeches from graduates Faye Witherall, Adianna Paul and Jisu Kim. The speeches shared messages ranging from learning how to embrace the now to persisting through oppression. Paul chronicled an incredibly inspiring journey she took through the foster system to where she was, standing in front of hundreds of people speaking at her high school graduation.
Principal Janet Anderson proceeded to present the graduating class to Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz and President of the South Pasadena Board of Education Elisabeth Eilers, who then presented the class with their diplomas.
Senior Class Treasurer Sophia Gerodiaz then presented the class of 2017’s gift to SPHS: an improved lunchtime soundsystem. Senior Class Vice President, Anissa Santos, concluded the commencement with a heartfelt farewell wishing the seniors well in their future endeavors. The graduates triumphantly threw their caps in the air and proceeded to walk off of Roosevelt Field for the first time as SPHS alumni.
As bittersweet emotions swirled among the graduates and their families, the densely populated baseball field buzzed with eagerness and anticipation for the future.
“I’m feeling pretty nostalgic. There are so many random memories that keep popping into my head,” Jake McCurdy said. “I’m super excited to get out and go somewhere new and exciting. I’m not scared about the future at all.”
Not every senior shared McCurdy’s unwavering optimism, however. Senior Olivia Nouriani, who will be attending UC Berkeley alongside McCurdy in the fall, is cautiously approaching the next step in her life.
“SPHS was a wonderful school to attend, and I’m very excited for the next step in my life,” Nouriani said. “But college is a daunting thing. It’s going to be pretty scary leaving South Pas. I’m still so excited.”
Photos by Alisa Hayashida