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SCHOOL:'We just did it. It's over. Yeah!'

GLENDALE HIGH

June 21, 2007|By Anthony Kim

As the graduating class of Glendale High School walked off Moyse Field, a group of about 10 students spontaneously ran a lap around the track. It was a reminder of the school's spirit that graduation speakers said will lead them to success in life.

"We have a free spirit, rebelliousness," said 18-year-old Ani Antanesyan, who was panting from her short run. "We just did it. It's over. Yeah!"

A crowd of adoring parents and friends packed the bleachers looking over about 650 students garbed in their school colors — the boys in black gowns and the girls in red gowns.

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But the students were probably thinking about the memories the graduation speakers invoked in their speeches. Many said it was the best years of their lives. Some said they did not enjoy it much. But as Glendale High's valedictorian Christine Thang tearfully said to her classmates, it was their life and it had come to an end.

"Life as we know it is over and tomorrow the future begins," said Christine, who had a grade-point average of 4.42.

Salutatorian Irene Jang, who had a grade-point average of 4.4, related an anecdote about how she gave a commencement speech for her class when she left preschool. Now she was in front of her classmates again, seeing off what she called an incomparable group of students.

"Here we are to celebrate a momentous beginning to the greatest age of our lives," she said.

Nine out of the school's top 10 seniors are going to schools in the University of California system, while the other is going to John Hopkins University.

Before they took to the field and the last few moments of their high school lives, the students lined up behind the bungalows near the bleachers. Anxiety and excitement flushed over the students' faces as they tried to explain what high school was like.

"High school was a lot of fun," said Lilit Halrapatyan, 18. "It's the best time of my life. Sometimes it's all I could think about."

Zareh Kamalyan, 17, said he will miss his friends the most, but the teachers did make a difference.

"Teachers made education fun," he said. "They make you feel like they care about you."

Still, other students were already looking toward the future.

"I feel like I'm more in control of my life," said Hakob Grigoryan, 18. "Every decision I make counts more. Everything is on a different level. It's new, but the concept is still the same."

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