Speakers emphasized the importance of hard work as the students moved on to the next chapters in their lives.
“If you rely sheerly on talent for your future, you will be sorely disappointed,” Escalante said.
Principal Doug Dall shared anecdotes from author Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers,” in which Gladwell studied the factors of success. There are very few naturally successful people, he said.
“Many of you in the Class of 2009 are naturally bright, and you may not have made the connection between hard work and success,” he said. “In order to obtain success, you have to work for it.”
Speakers acknowledged the touch economic time the students are entering, but predicted that Clark students will be able to face it head on.
“We must not give up, but go stronger and more determined to succeed,” Hamada said. The technology skills that Clark emphasizes will be especially useful in a competitive marketplace, she said.
Though most students were excited for what lay ahead, many said they were loath to leave behind familiar teachers and friends.
“It really is a bittersweet moment,” said Lilit Harutunyan, 19, as she waited for the ceremony to start with a group of her closest friends.
Friends Varuzhan Gasparyan, 18, and Aran Boyadzhyan, 17, will be attending Glendale Community College together in the fall. Both said they were glad high school was over.
“It hit me at first, but now I am ready,” Boyadzhyan said.
The class of 2009 will especially remember the senior barbecue, the senior prom at Castaway Restaurant and the trip to Catalina Island as times that brought the class together, said Student Body President Johnny Goukassian.