With both a high school diploma and associate’s degree in hand, the Academy of the Canyons graduated 98 seniors on Friday.
The story of the class, according to Principal Juliet Fine, would be one of perseverance and determination, as not only did the seniors complete both high school and college courses on their way to graduation, but also had to do so during a global pandemic.
“At Academy of the Canyons, I am inspired by the courage, hope and perseverance that our students have shown,” said Fine. “With loss, they have also gained. So, even though they didn’t have a traditional high school experience all four years, even during the most difficult times, I have been deeply moved as I watched you discover new opportunities and found ways to contribute to our community.”
One of AOC’s two class speakers, Vivien Berensten, explained how the unconventional methodology of the school campus, in which students are enrolled in both advanced high school courses and college courses simultaneously, could be challenging.
She also discussed how the class spent time apart during an unprecedented global pandemic, losing their junior year on campus. However, Berensten and her classmates persevered through the trials, both in the classroom and in the outside world.
“We came to the school because we wanted to challenge, well, either that, or your parents made you attend,” said Berensten. “But nevertheless, we worked for it. And we got it. We pushed ourselves too hard sometimes, but the accomplishment was worth it.”
The second AOC class speaker, Giorgio Simoncioni, reminded his classmates that while they have been told to follow a long list of things that are supposedly great for them, and they’ve all tried their best to prioritize every single thing thrown their way, that they had learned it is not “possible to prioritize everything.”
“Prioritize being the best people you can be and the stellar people I’ve gotten the privilege to know over the past few years,” said Simoncioni. “You will do great things.”
The 2022 graduating class of AOC accumulated a total of 6,449.5 college units. Of the 98 seniors, 83 graduated with honors with a 4.0 or higher. Nearly a quarter of the class is slated to head to University of California four-year-colleges, and another quarter is slated to move onto California State University campuses.
Students also plan to attend out-of-state institutions, private schools, continue on at College of the Canyons, join the military, or take a gap year.