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SCHOOL:'Everyone has each other's back'

CLARK MAGNET HIGH

June 21, 2007|By Jason Wells

The girl's locker room behind the amphitheater of Clark Magnet High School seemed ready to burst like a cork from a champagne bottle Wednesday from the cumulative nerves of 239 anxious graduating seniors.

Of all the graduating classes in Glendale Unified School District this year, most students, parents and school staff agreed that this class had the least to fear from an uncertain future.

"We're smart," senior Anita Haftavani said as she waited to walk out in the open-air theater.

Not that hundreds of students who graduated in the district aren't, but the National Blue Ribbon and California Distinguished school was the only one to see all of its seniors graduate.

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And of those graduates, 98% are going to some sort of college, university or specialized institution, school administrators said.

Nearly half of all seniors took a course at Glendale Community College this year, and many students took well above the required 220 high school credits needed to graduate — at least five students completed an extra year-and-a-half worth of high school instruction.

This amid a more rigorous class schedule and educational experience reserved only for students who score above the 36 percentile on state standardized tests, among other eligibility requirements, according to the district.

The extra feats were not lost on the seniors as they gathered in the outdoor cafeteria area before the ceremony, primping hair and adjusting caps.

While searching for one of the top basketball players at the school, Artin Sinani, one student yelled out, "There's no jocks here, just nerds," and no one seemed to mind.

Most students here have no problem reinforcing age-old cliches because they are keenly aware of the one that inevitably follows — that they are destined to rule.

"There's not the usual tension here because everyone's too busy with their GPAs," Sinani said. "Everyone has each other's back."

With smaller class sizes, focused atmosphere, strict curriculum and emphasis on college prep, many parents said the students had all the advantages.

"These kids have it made here," said Robert Sammis, whose son, Armen, was graduating.

"They don't have an excuse not to do so well."

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