Graduating seniors toss their caps in the air as they celebrate at the end of the 2019 Academy of the Canyons commencement ceremony held in the Honor Grove at College of the Canyons in Valencia on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Academy of Canyons holds graduation ceremony in COC Honor Grove

The Academy of the Canyons held a graduation ceremony for the class of 2019 at the College of the Canyons Honor Grove on Saturday.

During the ceremony, the 102 graduates sat apart from the hundreds of parents and family members who blew air horns and waved signs with the graduates’ names on them. Of those leaving the mid-college high school, 93 students graduated with honors (a 3.5 or higher grade point average) from AOC and 70 attained at least one associate degree from COC.

The 102 graduating seniors of Academy of th Canyons march to Pomp and Circumstance to start the 2019 commencement ceremony held in the Honor Grove at College of the Canyons in Valencia on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

A dozen students graduated from COC with a 4.0 GPA or valedictorian distinction and 40 graduated with a 3.50 to 3.99 GPA earned honors from the college.

During his speech to the class, Principal Pete Getz spoke to a theme of a change, before he then handed the 2019 Principal’s Award to graduate Emma Beam.

Graduating senior Iris Kim signs the National Anthem during the 2019 Academy of the Canyons commencement ceremony held in the Honor Grove at College of the Canyons in Valencia on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Whether it’s “a professional change or personal change, it’s going to happen,” said Getz. “Change should not be feared nor denied…change allows us to learn, to grow, and to most importantly, fail, the most important lesson.”

The ceremony featured two class speakers, Caroline Uhrig and Valeria Vazquez, who each gave testaments to the unique experiences they had while enrolled at AOC.

Graduating senior, ASB President Grant Lee gives his welcome speech during the 2019 Academy of the Canyons commencement ceremony held in the Honor Grove at College of the Canyons in Valencia on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

While Uhrig spoke to how there were no sports teams, or proms or large class sizes, she said she’d speak with people who made her worry that she was missing out on the quintessential high school experience.

“But actually it was they who missed out on the Academy of the Canyons middle high school experience,” she said.

“Yes to lifelong friends, yes to giving up the typical high school experience because we are anything but typical,” said Vasquez.

Graduating senior Aubrey Satumo shows off her diploma to family in attendance during the 2019 Academy of the Canyons commencement ceremony held in the Honor Grove at College of the Canyons in Valencia on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Common and notable college choices for graduates include: UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, California State University, Northridge, College of the Canyons, CSU Channel Islands, San Francisco State University,  University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Oregon, Pepperdine University, Baylor University, Case Western Reserve University, Brigham Young University, New York University, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Maryland Institute College of Art, and Boston College.

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