It was a beautiful sunny day for an outdoor graduation as Anzar High School said goodbye on June 9 to the 55 students of its senior class. Though the number of graduates was small compared to other schools in the area, Principal Angela Crawley said they had racked up over 12,000 credits, served over 4,000 service-learning hours and received more than $430,000 in scholarships.

“My word for you, for us really, is growth,” Crawley said in her address to the graduating class, “Our path to this point hasn’t been easy. I have to thank you for your cooperation, your understanding, your support and your willingness to learn alongside me. To say I am proud of you is the understatement of the century”

Crawley also took a moment to thank the Anzar teachers and staff for their help in this journey during the difficult pandemic years.

“Over the past four years,” she said, “you have shown great courage, determination, strength and loyalty. You have served not only as educators but as counselors, coaches, mentors, lunch pals, grad-ex coaches and advisors, you have provided shoulders to cry on and lent ears to listen when they needed to vent. You forgave them when they refused to turn on their cameras during distance learning and you welcomed them with literal open arms when we returned to campus.”

Class valedictorian Sarah LeBaron reminded the class that they were now independent actors with a responsibility of self-determination.

“There is nothing left you have to do,” she said. “And yet, despite this, the consequences for inaction are evermore severe. You are granted the equal liberty and burden of free will in an era of endless possibilities and I implore you to use it well. We must now strive for self-discovery. What do we care about? What do we want to achieve? What sacrifices are we now willing to make and what is worth sacrificing for?”

While invoking the possibilities of the future, senior speaker Erik Yahir Mejia Vega encouraged the class to remember the past.

“We always knew this day would come,” he said, “but we just never knew how quickly it would happen. The one thing that I hope no one ever forgets is where they came from. I know some people have been wanting to go out and explore the big world but Anzar has been the foundation of our education and our teachers have prepared us for the future. “

The graduating class included seven students who had completed the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, seventeen who had become California Scholastic Federation life members and nineteen who had earned the California State Seal of Merit. Leslie Cruz was awarded the 2023 Seal of Biliteracy. 

Twenty-four students were acknowledged as having completed more than 108 hours of service learning. Eleven students finished their academic exhibitions early, with 37 completing an exhibition with distinction and three completing with distinction in all areas. 

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