After four years of seeing them roam the halls of Hoover High School, Principal Jennifer Earl had one last message for the graduating class of 2018: Choice is a powerful concept.
More than 380 seniors listened to her words on Wednesday as families and friends looked on from the bleachers at Hoover’s Ferguson Field. She praised the students for their accomplishments during their time on campus and offered them a bit of advice as they take the next step in their lives.
Choices are made all the time, she said — people get to choose how to feel about themselves, how to use their abilities in life and how to treat others.
“Please remember … the choices you make in your lives [are] the true evidence of what and who you will become,” she said.
Earl wasn’t the only one with a message for students.
Amira Chowdhury, who served as the student body president, talked about change and being embraced by the Glendale community after moving from Bangladesh to the United States in 2016.
“In the coming weeks and months, each one of us will be going through some changes. While that change is scary, it’s also very exciting,” Chowdhury said.
She talked about the change she went through when she immigrated to the United States and her experience with the American education system.
“I never imagined a life for myself where I had the opportunity to pursue my dreams with limitless support and encouragement from my community,” she said.
Chowdhury, who is the first woman in her immediate family to pursue higher education in the United States, went on to thank her fellow seniors and the Glendale community for allowing her to find her “purpose in this nation” and developing “the courage to not only dream big but understand [her] potential.”
Students said they felt a mixture of excitement and sadness about leaving Hoover High.
“I’m leaving my friends behind,” Rosa Ramos said before the ceremony. “I know some people don’t communicate after they graduate, so I’m kind of scared of that.”
Ramos said she will take a year off from school to work and save money. She then expects to head to Los Angeles City College to pursue a career in criminal justice, either as a court translator or probation officer.
Nathien Rivera said he will miss hanging out with his friends, laughing and having a good time in class.
“Just making memories with them,” he said.
In the fall, he expects to attend Glendale Community College and play for its baseball team. He said he hopes to play professionally one day, ideally for the Los Angeles Dodgers.