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'It's the end of a chapter of our life'

Crescenta Valley High School

June 23, 2006|By Ani Amirkhanian

Tinka Mathews and her family wore pink shirts with the words "Team Marisa" on the front at Crescenta Valley High School's commencement ceremony on Thursday at Stengel Field.

Mathews' younger sister, Marisa Szeps, 18, was one of 640 graduates earning their high school diplomas.

"It's exciting and heart breaking," Mathews said. "We are all very proud of her."

That included Szeps' grandmother, who came from Argentina for the graduation.

Pride in their education was not in short supply Thursday, as students spoke of life after high school.

"It's a huge accomplishment," Rachel Whitaker, 18, said of graduation. "It's the end of one of the chapters of our life."

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Whitaker, who wore a gold medallion around her neck signifying 100 hours of community service, plans to stay close to Crescenta Valley High School.

Student Teo Soleymani addressed the senior class, reminding his peers that education is "perhaps the only wealth that cannot be robbed."

"The lessons we have learned, we will carry on with us all our lives," he said.

Jim Mills came to see his daughter, Erin, earn her high school diploma.

"I'm very proud of her and I know she is going to be successful in moving to a new stage in life," Mills said.

Parents were not the only ones who came to offer their support to the graduating class.

Lisa Reed, a 21-year math teacher at Crescenta Valley High School, came with her colleagues to cheer on the graduates.

"We are sorry to see them go and at the same time we are happy to [see] where they are headed," Reed said. "We've kind of been like parents."

Siune Mansoorian, 18, was headed toward not being eligible to graduate because she was short five credits. But she earned them just in time for Thursday.

"It feels like ? I can't believe I'm graduating," she said. "I was stressed that I was five credits short, but I made it."

For Solomon Lee, graduating high school meant starting a new chapter in his life: college.

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