Caps off to graduating Class of 2022

After getting through four years of uncertainty, battles with COVID-19 and academic challenges, the Class of 2022 graduated yesterday.

The seniors were able to have a semi-normal graduation on June 9 at Mulholland Middle School. This was the first full year of in-person learning at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) since 2019, making this graduation even more special. Photos of the graduates getting their diplomas are available on The Pearl Post Flickr. For those who couldn’t attend, the Pearl Net News live-streamed the event, with the stream available on their website and YouTube. This year’s graduating class was able to achieve a 100% graduation rate.

Fifty-seven seniors sat under the sun but they weren’t the only ones moving on to the next phase in their life. For teachers DeJanae Sharp, Ron Baer and Magnet Coordinator Leah Pevar, this was their last real day since they all have already transferred to different schools. 

This year’s emcee was incoming ASB President junior Angela Ledesma, taking over senior Cameron Frank’s position. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) District 3 Board Member Scott Schmerelson was first up to highlight a few of the accomplishments achieved by this year’s graduating class. Schmerelson took over for Principal Armen Petrossian for this year’s graduation because Petrossian was unable to attend. 

“Throughout the years and especially this year,” Schmerelson said, “You have created memories that will last a lifetime. You still have time to create one more memory, as you walk across the stage to receive your high school diploma.”

Valedictorian Chareena Pascua took the stage after a musical performance and described what she called a rollercoaster of a journey through high school, leaving a piece of advice for her fellow graduates. She will be attending the University of Southern California, majoring in civil engineering.

“To end my speech, I have a final message for my graduating class,” Pascua said, “No matter how many challenges you may face, it will always work out in the end.”

Tia Jarrett, the class salutatorian, gave a compelling follow-up speech. She mentioned the hardships of getting through high school during a pandemic and how appreciative she is of the experiences that led her to where she is. She will be attending Chapman University as a dance major.

“While most people can’t classify high school as the best years of their lives, “Jarrett said, “They can usually say it was the most influential. We grew up in this school, maturing emotionally and mentally in this school.”

CBS Los Angeles Investigative Reporter Kristine Lazar, the keynote speaker for this ceremony, delivered a speech, acknowledging families of the graduates. She also mentioned the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and spoke about her experiences as a journalist and why it’s important the graduates don’t shy away from hard-hitting journalism.

“You can be the keepers of the truth,” Lazar said. “You can be the thorn in the side of the powerful politicians and public figures. You can demand better for your generation and your children’s generation. But you can’t do any of that without a free press.”

Dr. Judea Pearl delivered the closing speech, honoring his wife, Ruth Pearl, who died on July 20 of last year. He also spoke extensively about the attack on the principles of journalism.

“No matter what area of the world you are reporting on,” Pearl said. “No matter what conflict you are covering, remember that there are human faces on both sides. Give them a voice.”