West Ranch sends off largest 2019 graduating class

West Ranch valedictorian Seung Jae Yoon waves to his fellow graduates at the 2019 West Ranch High School Commencement ceremonies at College of the Canyons Thursday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

West Ranch High School staff and faculty sent off the largest 2019 graduating class in the Santa Clarita Valley on Thursday.

The WRHS class of 2019 consisted of 662  graduates, with 228 of those graduating with honors, the largest number of honor scholars in the school’s history. As the graduates took their seats in Cougar Stadium, they walked through a line of teachers clapping and cheering them on.

Graduates look on at the 2019 West Ranch High School Commencement ceremonies at College of the Canyons Thursday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Principal Mark Crawford first led students in a round of applause of the parents of the graduates, before having the teachers be recognized by all those attendance. He then recognized valedictorian Justin Seungjae Yoon and salutatorian Nicholas Ryan Moore, before recognizing the class as a whole.

“This year has been one of the most painful of life, not because of this class … but because of some health issues I had to go through,” said Crawford. “I mention this because the pain, the obstacles made me realize two very important things: One, when you need help, reach out for it; and, two, use your time wisely — spend time doing what matters with those who matter most.”

“So class of 2019, who will have obstacles, you will have things not work out your way, there will have pain,” said Crawford. “But during these times, allow those that offer help to do so, do it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you do this it will allow you perceive and thrive; it will strengthen you so that later you can do the same for someone else.”

Graduating senior Sophia Kriegel addresses her fellow graduates at the 2019 West Ranch High School Commencement ceremonies at College of the Canyons Thursday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

The first class speaker, Sophia Kriegel, urged her classmates to allow themselves to afraid of the future, because, according to her, fear of the future allows the best portion of a person to come out.

“But know that it is imperative to keep supporting each other and allowing yourself to be supported,” said Kriegel. “But I believe that I speak with everyone when I say: This fervent compassion we have cultivated with each other over the past four years cannot, and will not, stop here.”

Graduating senior Zoey Greenwald addresses her fellow graduates at the 2019 West Ranch High School Commencement ceremonies at College of the Canyons Thursday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

“We did it together,” said Zoey Greenwald, the second class speaker. “Aware of it or not, we leaned on our classmates to become the people we are today. None of this would be possible without the whole of this, class of 2019, that’s what we are. A class, standing together, a representation of what the world has given us and a promise to give back even more.”

Notable college choices for graduates included: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Los Angeles, Duke University, Wellesley University, Yale University, Notre Dame University, Cornell University, Columbia University, Stanford University, Harvey Mudd University, University of Southern California and Northwestern University.

Decorated caps dot the graduating class at the 2019 West Ranch High School Commencement ceremonies at College of the Canyons Thursday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

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