Graduation day at Verbum Dei High School in Watts

One by one, the young men step onto the stage at Verbum Dei High School and take their moment to bask in the spotlight. Raul Ignacia Valencia peers out at the sea of people waiting to hear what college he will attend in the fall, a rite of passage at the all-male Catholic school in Watts. He spots a familiar face -- his dad -- and remembers the promise he made to become the first in his family to graduate college.
Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times
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