Salute to the Class of ’93 : Commencement: Under sunny skies, 300 of a record 1,160 graduating students at Moorpark College turn out for the big ceremony.


Nearly 300 Moorpark College students, most dressed in powder blue caps and gowns, assembled under sunny skies Friday for the college’s 26th annual commencement ceremony.

The graduates, among this year’s record-setting class of 1,160 students, sat in front of a concrete dais in the college quad for the afternoon function, listening to speeches by college officials and Moorpark alumni who challenged them to make the most of the education they had received.

“Pay us back for what we’ve tried to do for you,” Moorpark College President James Walker said. “Not with money, but with some effort.”


Walker urged the graduates to fight to preserve the kind of educational opportunities they had been given, particularly as the state’s financial woes take an increasing toll on public education.

“It’s not enough for you to reap the benefits of this superb institution,” Walker said. “You are the ones with the greatest opportunity to see that the benefits are passed on.”

Moorpark College alumna Anna Amarandos, who graduated in 1986, told the students to continue to set high goals.

“Which of you will put a stake in the ground that is not within easy reach?” asked Amarandos, who received her degree in laser/electro optics and now works as a marketing communications manager.

Prior to attending the two-year college, Amarandos received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California, Irvine in 1977, and a master’s degree in the same subject from Southern Illinois University in 1980.

“I congratulate you and at the same time I challenge you, because you’re ready for life’s next assignment,” Amarandos said.


After speeches by Amarandos, Walker and other college officials, the students each were called to the stage by name to receive blank diploma covers. The diplomas themselves will come after spring grades are tabulated, said Allyn Olson, student activities specialist.

Colorful banners were hung off the balconies of buildings adjacent to the quad and a lighted message sign on the Campus Center flashed the words, “Congratulations Moorpark College Class of 1993.”

Physics teacher Clint Harper, who was named the school’s faculty person of the year for 1992, handed out the diploma covers with the assistance of his department technician, Scotty MacLeod, who was named the school’s staff person of the year last year.

As the students were called to the stage, Daniel Guzman stood nearby with a video camera, waiting to get a shot of his cousin, Carlos Vasquez.

“Hey Carlos, where you going now, man?” Guzman asked as he filmed Vasquez walking off the stage.

“I’m going to Mexico,” Vasquez replied.

Among the graduates were Julio and Lisa Leal, the first couple in the school’s history to graduate together and receive two degrees each. Both finished with grade-point averages better than 3.5 and were on the dean’s list.


After the ceremony, students mingled about the quad congratulating each other, kissing family members and posing for pictures.

But at this graduation, the gown-clad honorees were not only sons and daughters, but often mothers and fathers.

Belinda Aguiar, 42, of Simi Valley, posed as her son Ruben, 11, snapped a picture.

“It took me a long time to get here,” said the childhood education major and preschool teacher. “I cried at the end.”