While families shouted and cheered their names, 653 Valencia High School seniors took to the stage during their graduation ceremony Friday.
Of those who received their diplomas from school staff and Hart District Superintendent Vicki Engbrecht, 126 graduated with honors. As the graduates filed into the stadium, waving to the stands where their families sat, the VHS band played “Pomp and Circumstance.”
“It is important that you understand that you have this quality, you have this grit,” said VHS Principal Steve Ford during his speech to the graduates, which was intermixed with pop culture songs that exemplified the themes he was speaking to, like “Old Town Road” and “Masterpiece.” “One of the toughest jobs you have as a young adult will be to remain true to yourself, to go the distance and never quit…we are all a work in progress (and) life is messy, so color outside the lines.”
This year, instead of following in a traditional mold of having a single valedictorian and a single salutatorian, both Joshua Hyun Lee and Nicole Seungeun Sohn were named co-valedictorians. Following Ford’s opening remarks, the outgoing VHS ASB President Jennifer Elliot and the co-valedictorians handed off the “Viking Torch of Learning” to next year’s ASB president and current 2019 co-first scholars.
“Although our journey through high school has been plighted with challenges, the light from this torch and its values have consistently guided us to this day,” said Elliot. “It is now our turn to challenge the incoming seniors to light the way and uphold the traditions and ideals of the torch just as we have.”
Class speaker Brennan Brook used his time at the podium to share some inspirational words with all those he had gone to school with for the last four years.
“We made it, we have reached one of the most important milestones in our lives,” said Book. “Living life is comparable to climbing a mountain. We each begin our journeys at the bottom at different places, with different equipment, but our trails converged the moment we step foot onto the Valencia High School campus freshman year…It is important to catch our breath, look back and appreciate the beauty we have left behind us.”
Common college choices for graduates included College of the Canyons, California State University, Northridge, San Diego State University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, Berkeley, University of California San Diego.