Kiara wanted to follow in her father's footsteps since she was 7 years old, he said. And in the fall she will attend Louisiana State University to study biology.
She is one of dozens of Hoover grads who will attend four-year schools from a class that stood out academically, Principal Kevin Welsh said.
He said 31% of the grads will attend a Cal State or University of California schools and 59% will go on to community college or vocational schools.
"You never gave me much stress," Welsh told the graduates, who tease him about his thinning hair. "I have the same amount of hair I had when you were little ninth-graders."
The class of about 532 graduates joined 34,000 Hoover alumni, he said.
Associated Student Body President Sandra Cordero referred to the class as being a mosaic during her poetic address.
"I pray your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles," she said.
It was a bittersweet moment for senior class president Elin Darkalestanian.
"Somewhere during the last four years you think they would teach us how to say goodbye," she said. "This is the end of one life and the beginning of another."
During her comments, Valedictorian Lucineh Parsanian asked her parents to stand up saying, "Now it's my turn to brag about you."
She then read a poem in Armenian while her voice cracked, then re-addressed her classmates.
"With diligence and determination we can all achieve our goals," she said. "I hope these are not the best years of our lives ? that the best years are yet to come."
Glendale Unified School District Board Member Pam Ellis said she was conflicted. Her daughter, Alex Ellis, graduated and for the first time in 18 years she did not have a child in the district she helps govern. And she was saying goodbye to many of Alex's childhood friends. "I've been anticipating and dreading this day," she said.
And with that she started handing out diplomas to a procession of graduates ? the boys dressed in purple, the girls all in white.gnp.hhs.grad.1.0622-CPhotoInfoFD1S99RO20060623j1aqngnc(LA)gnp.hhs.grad.3.0622-CPhotoInfoFD1S99RR20060623j1aqlwnc(LA)