CalArts’ grads dance to their degrees


California Institute of the Arts’ Class of 2019 comprised of artists, performers and students who may one day receive an award in front of millions. But first, they had to accept their degrees in front of loved ones on-campus Friday.

Every feature of this year’s graduation, including a snow-white set displaying “Alice in Wonderland”-themed characters, concerts of jamming students and an animated cartoon starring CalArts President Ravi Rajan, was designed by graduates of the 2019 class.

Led by the African Music and Dance Ensemble and dozens of alumni from classes dating as far back as the 1970s, this year’s cohort walked, danced and celebrated in the processional donning the customary colorful outfits that highlight CalArts’ commencement ceremonies every year.

As the beat of the drums carried the hundreds of animators, actors and other artistic majors to their seats, the crowd cheered and congratulated the graduates who were enjoying their big day in traditional CalArts’ fashion.

Following a speech from Vice President of Student Experience Brian Harlan, Students Eloy Neira and Pablo Lenero took the stage to speak on the students’ hard earned accomplishments.

“It has not been an easy path. Many of us left our families, our countries our homes. Many of us worked several jobs and went into debt to pursue our dream of studying here,” Lenero said as the crowd cheered. “Be proud because despite of all your adversities, we made it. Today, we graduate.

However, we didn’t accomplish this alone,” Lenero added. “Thank you to our parents, family and friends who believed in us in pursuing our passions. Thank you for your support, your persistence, your passion and your love. We wouldn’t be here without you.”

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