After surviving the COVID-19 pandemic and distance learning, the Class of 2021’s 67 seniors had the opportunity to participate in an in-person graduation ceremony.
Eagerly waiting six feet apart with their face masks on, the graduates awaited their time to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas as parents gathered in their socially distant seats on the grounds of Mulholland Middle School on June 11. The graduation ceremony was the first event where the seniors were able to see each other since March 13, 2020, which was the last day that schools were open. To maintain social distancing, seniors were given only two tickets for guests. The Pearl Net News live-streamed the event for those who couldn’t attend and it’s still available on their website.
The ceremony’s emcee was incoming senior Cameron Frank, who will be student body president. Senior Mahali Sanchez was the first to take the stage and deliver a speech where she discussed her experiences during the 1,460 days of high school as well as an inspirational quote that pushed her through it all.
“My mom has told me in the past “Si lo puedes soñar, lo puedes hacer,” which translated means “if you can dream it, you can do it,” Sanchez said. “This quote pushed me to keep going as the final countdown was approaching and helped me believe that I can be what I dream.”
Alliana Samonte, one of the class valedictorians, also gave a moving speech acknowledging the achievements of her class, including surviving Edgenuity, marching with the teachers in the 2019 teacher strike. After giving her thank yous to those who pushed her through her high school years, Samonte gives a goodbye to what was her life for the past four years and her last message to the graduating class of 2021.
“We made history and we are history while at the same time learning history,” Samonte said. “From this day forth, our only movement is never back, but forward, do everything to your best ability, and even if we fall we still fall forward to a great future.”
Itzel Luna, The Pearl Post editor-in-chief, was awarded the Daniel Pearl Foundation Scholarship by Judea Pearl. Luna was accepted into 18 colleges, including five Ivy Leagues. Mia Sanchez committed to Long Island University playing Division 1 water polo.
Delivering the closing speech of the day Principal Armen Petrossian gives his final piece of advice to the graduates.
“Should you ever find yourself in challenging circumstances again, remember not the hardships of the challenges but what you were able to accomplish in spite of those circumstances,” Petrossian said.