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John Burroughs High students celebrate graduation

The four years spent in high school are a time when teens learn to begin to tackle the road ahead of them, and several of the recent graduating students at John Burroughs High School said they think they’re ready for the future.

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Hundreds of proud family members and friends cheered on the 629 graduates during a chilly ceremony Thursday night at Memorial Field.

Some in attendance had large cut-out heads of the student they were cheering for, while others stealthily tooted the air horns they had sneaked into the stadium.

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Valedictorian Prajwal Mahesh told the audience he and his peers faced several challenges during their years at Burroughs, such as finding the right group of people to be friends with and preparing for AP tests.

Mahesh said he thought Robot Mr. Krabs from the cartoon series “SpongeBob SquarePants,” who was trying to figure out the recipe for krabby patties, poignantly summed up their high school struggles.

“Ravioli ravioli, give me the formuoli,” Mahesh said, quoting the character. “The formuoli, in our case, was the formuoli to success, but as many of us have come to realize over the past few years … there’s no single well-defined formula to success.”

Mahesh said everyone had a different path to get to graduation. Some put their heads down and worked hard, while others found a subject that inspired them.

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“Whether you’re well on your way or just beginning your journey, your journey does not end here, and you’re sure to face many more uncertainties and obstacles in both the immediate and distant future,” he said. “However, with each new year that presents to us 365 new uncertainties, we’re also presented with 365 new opportunities, and it’s our responsibility to seize each opportunity to propel us down our path and not let the uncertainties discourage us from continuing down our road.”

Graduate Oliver Eccleston said before the ceremony that he thinks the faculty and staff at Burroughs have prepared him to face challenges ahead.

He said he appreciated all of his teachers, including video-production instructor Patrick Carman, who Eccleston said helped teach him and his peers how to be functioning adults in the real world.

Eccleston, who is aspiring for a career in politics, said he plans to attend Cornell University and major in industrial labor relations.

He added that, through one of the university’s programs, he will spend a year working in the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors office to become more familiar with issues facing the county and Burbank.

“Hopefully I’ll learn the skills necessary to make [Burbank] better,” Eccleston said.

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