SCHOOL:'It's liberating and exciting'


June 21, 2007|By Ani Amirkhanian

Members of the Crescenta Valley High School graduating class of 2007 walked toward Stengel Field, took their seats and eagerly waited to receive their diplomas during the school's commencement ceremony on Wednesday.

"It's surreal and I can't believe it's over," said graduate Anna Benjamin, 17. "My high school years were the best years for me."

As the graduates made their way to the field, family and friends shouted and waved. Some even stopped to give hugs and kisses.


Grace Joo, 17, was overwhelmed that she was graduating.

"It feels tingly," she said. "Like, I can't believe it. I'm really happy."

Others were more eager about finally finishing high school.

"I've been waiting for four years for this day," said 17-year-old Tricia Furginson.

Tricia, who will be attending Pasadena City College to study visual arts, had some advice for the graduating class.

"I would say go far in life, have fun, do what you want and not what people want you to do."

About 680 students received their diplomas on Wednesday.

Glendale Unified School District Supt. Michael Escalante addressed the graduates and told them to remember their high school days in the years to come.

"We hope you will continue to work hard and continue to surround yourself with achievement," he said. "It is our sincere hope that you look back at Crescenta Valley High School and keep it close to your hearts."

Diane Lapostol came to see her son Luis earn his diploma. Lapostol, a teacher at La Crescenta Elementary School, noted that many of the graduates were her former students.

"I'm very proud," she said. "It's a nice group of kids."

That group had its challenges in their final year.

In November, a meningitis scare at Crescenta Valley High School prompted Los Angeles County Public Health Department officials to set up clinics to administer antibiotics to nearly 3,000 students.

Graduate Ashley Insalaco contracted bacterial meningitis, an infection that attacks the lining of the brain and spinal cord. She fell into a coma but ultimately recovered, returning to school two months later.

Despite her absence, she made up the work after returning to school.

"I missed two months of school and I thought I couldn't graduate," the 17-year-old said.

Ashley is relieved to be graduating, she said. She plans to attend Glendale Community College.

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