All of the students were on the dance floor until the end of the evening, dancing together among classmates of different backgrounds, Keshishian said.
“I’ve never seen that,” he said. “You are a very united group of people.”
Students shared similar observations about their peers. At a school with a history of racial divisions between Armenians and Latinos and other minority groups, the class of 2009 had a unique ability to join together in harmony, they said.
“This class has shown we have incredible strength in the face of adversity,” class valedictorian Amy Drummond told the audience.
Students sat in white chairs on the field, with boys wearing purple caps and gowns and girls wearing white as the sun set to the west of the packed bleachers.
Graduates said they would miss friends, teachers and the diversity of their campus community, but there was one thing that the group was happy to leave behind: construction.
From Toll Middle School to Hoover, the class of 2009 had gone through their educational careers with the sounds of hammers, drills and saws passing through the walls of classrooms for the better part of the last seven years, they said.
“It was just a burden,” senior Raymond Chigani said of the constant work crews that diverted students from walkways, classrooms and even a Hoover quad.
Still, the experience at Hoover had been “life-changing” for senior Alexandra Camacho-Platas, who didn’t have a clear post-high-school plan until she took an Advanced Placement psychology class, she said.