Four years attending Burroughs High School were recalled as fun but challenging and ultimately rewarding by some of the 597 students graduating in the 70th commencement exercises at Memorial Field on Thursday evening.
Principal Deborah Madrigal gushed about the members of a senior class who inspired her with their academic, athletic and charitable prowess.
“This is an impressive group in front of us here tonight,” she said. “They have set a very high bar for all that follow the Class of 2019.”
According to Madrigal, 240 Burroughs seniors had a 3.0 grade-point average for at least two years, 184 were recognized as U.S. President’s award winners for maintaining a 3.5 grade-point average all four years, 122 finished with a 4.0 grade-point average, 83 received California Scholarship Federation grants, 22 didn’t miss a day of school their senior year, and nine went all four years without an absence.
Athletically, the Indians’ boys’ and girls’ soccer and volleyball teams each won Pacific League championships this past season, while five athletes were named the league’s Players of the Year in their respective sports.
In terms of philanthropy, Madrigal noted the class was required to contribute at least 10 learning-service, or community-service hours, prior to graduation.
Burroughs’ seniors finished with 42,877 hours this year, according to Madrigal, or roughly 72 hours per student. Elena Sanchez led the way with 1,175 service hours.
“We are capable of aiming for the moon and reaching it if we set our minds to it,” said Mariam Morcus, the class valedictorian.
“Since we are all unique individuals, we each have our own goals, our own moons. Some of us know our passions and some of us are still finding ourselves — both are OK,” she added.
Zachary Hagen-Smith offered a “reminiscence” speech, which the senior jokingly described as “atypical.”
“If I had a single wish for every graduate here today, it would be that I hope the best years of your lives were not at Burroughs, that they lie ahead of you, that the friends and experiences you make here will be a mere foundation for your mountainous aspirations,” he said.
Before the ceremony, Maddy May, who expects to head to Pasadena City College and then eventually USC, admitted she was nervous but ready to move on.
“I feel like it’s been a long journey, but I feel like I’m ready, like today is the day,” May said. “I’ve worked for this. I’m not very sad; I feel like the time has come, and I’m ready for the next chapter.”
Rafael Munguia, who’s plans to attend UC Merced in the fall, said he was surprised how quickly his high school days flew by.
“It’s pretty exciting, and it really does come by faster than expected,” he said. “Even though that sounds cliché, it really does. It’s crazy and it’s interesting watching it and to be a part of it. It’s really surreal.”
Just because Isaac Ehring has his future set as he plans to begin an apprenticeship with the Los Angeles Carpenters Union soon, it doesn’t mean the senior wasn’t apprehensive.
“For 18 years of my life, this is all I’ve ever known and now it’s over,” he said. “It’s kind of scary, but, you know, it’s something that everyone goes through, and I’m ready to be part it.”