Academy of the Canyons graduated its 2023 class on Wednesday at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons, the only school in Santa Clarita to graduate at this location.
“You will use this diploma to go forward in your life and accomplish all of your personal goals,” said AOC Principal Juliet Fine. “Today, you’re stepping out into the world as leaders. You will shape the world industry and the future of our community.”
AOC is a public middle college high school, part of the William S. Hart Union High School District, and allows students from ninth to 12th grade to simultaneously take high school and college classes at COC.
There are 40 middle colleges in the United States and 13 of them are located in California. According to Fine, AOC is one of the highest-performing middle colleges in the U.S.
“Please remember that each one of these members, while they’ve been here at AOC, is quite tremendous,” said Fine. “They’ve overcome many challenges. It represents triumph self-determination and perseverance and we’re proud of every single one of our students.”
The graduating class consisted of 92 students – 86 received a Golden State seal merit diploma, 80 graduated with a 4.0 or above grade-point average, 67 graduated as members of the National Honor Society, 57 graduated receiving both their high school diploma and associate’s degree, and 13 students achieved a 4.0 or above GPA in their COC courses.
The entire class combined completed 5,416.5 college units.
“Today is a very special day for us to all celebrate the end of this incredibly hard-working process, four years learning from high school,” said Theodore Yang, AOC’s 2023 ASB president.
Fine expressed how proud she was of the graduating class for braving the battles and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sometimes not getting what you want is a stroke of luck,” said Fine. “For our students, even though our plans didn’t go exactly as wanted, they are getting a lot from this time. These unexpected events transformed our AOC students.”
Student speaker Joan Isabelle Go said she is proud to have grown her roots in AOC, especially during unpresented times.
Go felt that through the hard times she had not one person, not two people, but her entire class to rely on.
“The more challenges we conquered the more we learn the value of each other,” said Go. “We realize that relying on our community is often the only thing that can bring us through hard times and while each year came with new challenges, it also came with priceless opportunities to grow through the support and encouragement of those around us.”
“Physical distance may have separated us, but nevertheless, the support we leverage from our tight-knit community allowed us to grow and thrive.”
Twenty-four students will continue their education at University of California campuses, 20 at COC, 17 at out-of-state institutions, 16 at private schools, 12 at California State University campuses, two are undecided and one student is taking a gap year.
Itzel Galicia, Skylar Morales and Alicia Vinaja were selected for the principal’s award. Each received a $500 scholarship toward their journey outside of AOC.
“I hope we remain connected at heart,” said Go. “Stay classy 2023.”