It was a different kind of pomp and circumstance at the Anzar High School graduation ceremony on June 8 with each student walking in to hand-picked entrance music.
Some grads strolled, some nearly ran, and some walked with purpose, but Octavio Duran danced into the auditorium keeping the beat to his musical choice.
Veronica Armenta chose “El Zapateado" and Erika Ortiz chose “Arriba Pichataro.” Dylan Williams entered to a Mozart piece, while others bounced in to blasting, upbeat tunes, and even an old 50s standard: “Good Golly Miss Molly."
Before the grand entrance, the graduates prepared for the big moment in the high school library attended to by Senior Advisor/History and Social Studies teacher Robert Honeywell.
“If you’re worrying about tears, get your tissue now,” he said as he held up a box of Kleenex. “I’ve got a towel."
Cristina Huerta told BenitoLink that she would be enrolling in Cabrillo College to study electrical engineering, while Williams admitted to mixed feelings, but said he was eager to head off to Monterey Peninsula College, before transferring to another university. He plays the viola, and likes classical music, as evidenced by his musical choice for the procession.
Salutatorian Myriam Arias said her journey would take her to University of California, Santa Barbara, where she will begin her study in biopsychology. “I’m interested in how the biology of our brain effects behavior,” she said.
“It’s been a long journey, and I am sad but also happy, and it is a big relief. I don’t have to do the Graduation Exhibition anymore,” said Nathan Pizana.
Pizana explained the Graduation Exhibition involves giving a presentation in order to graduate. And that begins in the junior year.
Choosing the question, “should runners be allowed to wear head phones and listen to music in high school running raises?” he said he learned from his hypothesis that listening to music, while running, didn’t improve the performance, but said, “I’ll do it anyway.”
Proud parents, grandparents, other relatives and friends waited to get into the gym, and while in line, the parents of Valedictorian Taylor Vollin — her father Casey, and mother, Andrea — spoke of Taylor’s tenacity to continue to do her best in spite of a family misfortune.
“Our house burned down, and even though we lost everything, it didn’t hurt her a bit. I’m so proud of her,” Casey said.
Anzar Principal Charlene McKowen welcomed the guests in Spanish and English, saying that every graduate is different.
“We honor their individuality, and they are ready to make their mark on the world,” she said.
The staff was encouraged to stand and get a round of applause. Then, parents stood for recognition, as well.
Salutatorian Arias said high school wasn’t easy, but she had many role models that taught her about life.
Valedictorian Vollin said to believe in dreams, but dreams need action, and to get dreams done, you must be a doer.
Advisor Honeywell’s message was that, while life can be scary, and there is still a lot to learn, grads should enjoy the process.
Senior Advisor Rosemary Lopez’s advice was to realize that life is happening now so don’t wait for the perfect moment.
Criteria for valedictorian are the combination of highest grade point average, at least one Advanced Placement course, and at least one exhibition with a score of 3 with distinction.
Seniors who completed the exhibition early were: Myriam Arias, Madelyn Hendricks, Gloria Marques, Jacob Avila, Hailey Kennedy, Everett McCormick, Taylor Vollin, Ronne’e Davis, Molly Locain and Elleni Velasques.
Seniors completing an exhibition, with a score of 3 with distinction were: Myriam Arias, Austin Jo, Taylor Vollin, Katia Dixon, Molly Locain, Dylan Williams, Cristina Huerta and Elisa Rojas.
California Scholastic Federation life members were: Myriam Arias, Hailey Kennedy, Madelyn Hendricks, Christian Rosa, Taylor Vollin, Cristina Huerta and Elleni Velasquez.
Myriam Arias was the 2017 recipient of the Seal of Biliteracy.
The song, “We Are the Champions,” signaled to the audience that the ceremony was ending. Then, the Class of 2017 left the building, ready for their next adventure.