'An entire future lies ahead'

The future may be uncertain for the class of 2009, but one thing is clear, senior Marianne Epstein told her fellow John Burroughs High School graduates Thursday.

“The worst is over — no more state testing,” she said.

Her speech, one of six by students, drew cheers from the crowd of cap-and-gown-clad students on the school’s football field.

Bursts of confetti and screams of joy capped off the ceremony, which took place under stadium lights as a cool breeze blew across the field, waving tassels and red gowns.

Students had spoken to the group about the completion of what may have been the best four years of their lives — so far. And they looked ahead with excitement.

“An entire future lies ahead of us that is full of possibilities,” Robert Farmer, one of two valedictorians, told the audience. “All we have to do is go and take ours.”

Seniors reflected on their friendships at Burroughs, some of which had grown during 13 years in school.

Some talked of bonds forged on sports teams, in music groups or on morning runs to a nearby snack stop for breakfast burritos. Others were most affected by their academic experiences.

The strong friendships made during the familiar routine of high school might soon be tested with distance, as peers begin to spread across the region, country and world for education and work, students said.

“I’m a little emotional to be leaving because this is like my home,” said Nathalie Torres, who wasn’t sure which of her friends she would be able to keep in touch with as years begin to pass.

But fears of separation didn’t put a damper on the celebration.

Students danced, hopped and skipped across the field after getting their time to be in the spotlight and receiving diploma covers from members of the Board of Education.

When the ceremony was over, students high-fived, jumped, hugged and kissed before eventually boarding buses headed to Disneyland for a nightlong celebration.

“It’s just a great emotional experience,” said Cameron Blocker, who was among a group of boys chest-bumping and shouting with excitement as the field cleared.

Christian Zuniga relished the moment.

He almost didn’t get a chance to walk in the ceremony after having struggled through a language barrier and failed to pass crucial math exams. Zuniga immigrated from Honduras five years ago and had been unable to grasp some math concepts while learning English. His goal was to move on to Glendale Community College and study culinary arts, en route to possibly becoming a chef, but first he needed to make it through high school. After failing a required algebra test four times, Zuniga was granted one final chance.

He was determined to pass and even studied through Wednesday night before taking his exam just hours before the ceremony. It paid off.

“I feel like a superstar,” he said as he walked onto the field at the start of the event and caught a glimpse of the overflowing bleachers.

His struggle to make it through high school taught him an important lesson, he said — one that he won’t forget: “If you work hard, you can get it.”

THE GRADS

Victoria Abramian

Andrew Ray Acharon

Molly Adkins

Nathan Agarpao

Ruther Orland Agonoy

Elisa Aguilar

Mason Aguilar

Nicole Aguilar

Angela Alcantar

Phillip Alcantara

Edwin Alejandre

Ashley Alexander

Ariceli Alfaro

Anthony Aliaga

Michael Allen

Hans Javier Alpizar

Jasmine Alvarado

Adriana Alvarez

Chelsea Alvarez

Elvera Alvarez

Jessica Alvarez

Justin Alvarez

Melissa Alvarez

Joshua Amen

Philip An

Kimberly Andersen

Claire Anderson

Paige Andrews

Matthew Apacible

Jaymee Aranita

Sherwin Argueta

Gabriela Arias

Christopher Armstrong

Christina Arredondo

Kimberley Arredondo

Shawn Artero

Natalie Artiles

Janis Arzate

Douglas Ashford Jr

Olivia Asmar

Adam Atlas

Jennifer Atwell

Lisa Atwell

Paul Avila

Lennin Aviles

Seda Ayrapetyan

Sasoun Azalbar

Marc Louie Bacierto

Evelyn Badillo

Mayra Baldonado

Julia-Victoria Barajas

Brandon Barbello

Dominique Barnes

Lindsay Barney

Brett Bass

Christy Bauer

Kevin Bauer

Janelle Bautista

Magdalena Bautista

Tyler Beauregard

Kevin Beebe

Michael Beimford

Serphui Bekhloyan

Jurenne Belanio

Kelli Belcourt

Damary Belmont

Brittany Belt

Isquian Beltran

Michael Benavente

Amy Benavides

Briana Benedetto

Allyson Benne

Audrey Berdecia

Robert Bermeo

Elke Besvold

Kalee Beverly

Nadia Bianchi

Dustin Blankenship

Cameron Blocker

Ashley Bonilla

Kelly Bonner

Jordan Booker

Gerald Bosque

Nicholas Bozeman

Christopher Brackett

Kayla Braud

Mallory Braun

Breeanna Briggs

Michael Briones

Corey Brittain

Katelyn Budrick

Nicole Buena

Nicholas Bullias

Roxanne Burkhart

Laura Bustos

Gianina Camacho

Patricia Camacho

Adameros Camesa

Maynor Camey

Taryn Campos

Rico Carbajal

Alina Cardenas

Angela Carpenter

Gabriel Casillas

Miranda Castaneda

Carlos Castellon

Natalie Castillo-Duran

Daisy Castro

Estella Cazal Esparza

Valeria Ceballos

Anthony Cera

Michael Ceron

Wendy Cervantes

Jenjira Chaisamrong

Codye Chaney

Alexander Chavez

Fabiola Chavez

Juan Chavez

Neidi Chavez

John Clairville

Thomas Clark

Grace Clibourn

Dylan Cochran

Sofia Cohen

Cameron Collier

Zackary Collier

Kaily Collins

Melissa Colon

Amanda Conrad

Tay Cook

Micheal Cope

Jonathan Corella

Jacqueline Coronado-King

Stephanie Cortes

Bianca Cortez

Liliana Covarrubias-Arrenquin

Nikki Cox

Brian Cozakos

Brian Cremin

MaLisa Crowe

Daniel Cruz

Maria Priscilla Cruz

Melissa Cuddy

Kathy Dalley

Jordan Davidson

Dustin De Caro

Minela De La Cruz

Aener Sidney De Mesa

Ella De More

Erika De Paz

Janelle De Veyra

Mary DeBettignies

John Delbarian

Thomas DeMasters

Michelle Devile

Yadira Devora

Elyssa Diaz

Camille Diolosa

Lance Dixon

Deanna Douglas

Francis Dournayan

Roxanne Duarte

Jeffery Dumas

Anthony Dupre

Dominique Duvall

Destini Edwards

Sarah Edwards

Jenna Eklund

Veronica Eligio

Jonathan Elliot

Ava Elong

Madison Elsner

Salena Encinias

Vanessa Enciso

Marianne Epstein

Alejandro Escobar

Noel Escobar

Ghylda Espinosa

Miguel Espinoza

Christopher Esquivel

Daniel Etter

Nicole Evans

Madison Evenson

David Falkenstein

Mahan Farizi

Robert Farmer

Steven Faudree

Samantha Felipe

Luis Felix

Jilian Ferguson

Deanna Ferris

Rudy Figueroa

Nicholas Fiock

Jaclyn Fish

Catalina Flores

Christian Flores

Gabriel Flores

Jacob Flores

Kevin Flores-Ortiz

Laura Flores-Rojo

Jenna Flynn

Meagan Fonnegra

Brittany Fox

Ford Fraley

Danielle Francisco

Kymberh Francisco

Paola Franco

Samantha Frasquillo

Saul Frausto

Brittany Frederick

Frank Fuerte

Brittany Garcia

Edlyn Garcia

Maritza Garcia

Sara Garcia

Christian Garciga

Lissette Garduno-Ramirez

Leah Garrett

Sirun Gasparyan

Corrina Gentemann

Madeline Gharabagh

Brianna Gimenez

Cydelle Nadine Gimotea

Brandon Girod

Andrew Glick

Aaryn Goldberg

Mayra Gomez

Melissa Gomez

France Gonzaga

Alejandra Gonzalez

Denise Gonzalez

Eddie Gonzalez

Elizabeth Gonzalez

George Gonzalez

Jeffrey Gonzalez

Johann Gonzalez

Pablo Gonzalez

Shannen Gonzalez

Skyla Gordon

Pablojose Grajeda

Luis Granados

Myles Grene

Gilen Guenther

Francisco Gutierrez

Katelyn Hale

Justin Hall

Roger Ham

Christopher Hamilton

Scout Hammond

Samantha Harand

Thomas Hardy

Vincent Harlow

Kyle Hart

Christian Heath

Sarah Hellman

Andrew Henderson

Nathan Hentz

Amy Herman

Lucy Hernandez

Patrick Hernandez

Richard Hernandez

Darlene Herrera

Omar Herrera

Zachary Heskett

Amanda Hetrick

Carlie Hidalgo

Veronica Hidalgo

Donald Holbert

Tori Holland

Vanya Holt

Christopher Hosea

Paige Housner

Amanda Hubbell

Pablo Huerta

Christina Huggins

Dakota Hughes

Elaine Huynh

Tung Huynh

Worapan Iddhibhakdibongse

Gregory Inda Jr

Sali Ishak

Gayane Ispirian

Kevin Jackson

Gilbert Jacobo

Michael Jacobs

Laura Jansen

Lizzeth Jara

Aerin Jensen

Marlon Jimenez

Julie Johnson

Megan Johnson

Christopher Jones

Sean Kahikina

George Kairouz

Shinobu Kajimoto

Samuel Kaplan

Jessica Kapuy

Natasha Keith

Christian Keshishian

Diana Kheir

Songvit Kiatpiriya

Julian Kibbie

Gyeongryeol Kim

Shelley Klawitter

Shanica Knowles

Brett Kodama

Michael Koshiro

Anthony Koshkarian

Armand Koulouzian

Natalie Kouyoumdjian

Kate Krantz

Jordan Kreisberg

Jen-Ling Kuo

Emily Lahaie

Kyle Lally

Melody Larin

Mikel Lat

Cherlyn Latar

Jordan Lawrence

Annika Lawson

Christian Lazo

Alissa Le Master

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Jillian LeDuc

Hyekyu Lee

Wendy Lee

Katrina Leon

Lleny Leon

Evelyn Lepe

Jack Leroux

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Amanda Leyva

James Lichnovsky

Yu-Yao Liu

Cody Loebs

Araceli Loera

Shane Loock

Anissa Lopez

Daniel Lopez

Edwin Lopez

Lesly Lopez

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Corie Louie

Jorge Lozano

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Alexander Lujan

Sonia Lussier

Alexandra Lynn

Tyler MacDonald

Angelica Magno

Cherrelle Majano

Andy Maldonado

Mario Maldonado

Edward EJ Manning

Marie Isabelle Marbella

Peter Mardini

Joshua Mares

William Markgraf

Natasha Markham

Heather Markow

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Ana Martinez

Benjamin Martinez

Clider Martinez

Eleazar Martinez

Evan Martinez

Kathy Martinez

Kiara Martinez

Lorena Martinez

Tanisha Marx

Marisa Massara

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Chelsea Matthews

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William McCall

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Matthew McQuown

Vanessa McQuown

Carolyn Meisner

Miguel Mendez Jr

Brandon Mendoza

Zarina Mendoza

Carly Mersola

Lisette Meza

Danielle Miceli

Gustavo Mier

Miles Milanovich

Tyler Miles

Olivia Millett

Angela Milosevic

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Danielle Mireles

Ferima Mohammad Homayun

Mauren Molina

Steven Montenegro

Eric Mora

Karen Mora

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Jacob Morales

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Christian Morris

Ashley Morrison

Gabrielle Moss

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Leigha Naeole

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Western Nelson

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Andrew Pacia

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Claudia Pardo

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Nelson Rodriguez

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Theodore Roque

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Gemma Rosas

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Mirelle Salib

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Seanell Ann San Andres

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Oscar Sanchez

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Zabella Sarkisyan

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Samantha Strobl

John Strube

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Lloyd Sullivan

James Sutton IV

Michelle Swann

Kenneth Tago

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Mohamed Tawil

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Russell Templet

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Michael Trejo

Top Triamwong

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Jessica Tsay

Blake Tuomy-Wilhoit

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Bruce Urena

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Emanuel Valdez

Daniel Valdivia

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Patrick Vogel

Esther Volper

Katherine Von Dohlen

Aekawin Vongasavarit

Samantha Walbert

Kristin Walters

Michael Washington

Yasmine Watanabe

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Kayleigh White

Kelly Williams

Kyle Williams

Shane Wilson

Jeffrey Wise-Davis

Lexington Wochner

Cameron Wong

Preeyanan Wongsasitorn

Damon Wood

Andre Yanez

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Zachary Zagars

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Keenen Zamora

Ivan Zamudio

David Zelaya

Jaquelin Zepeda

Briana Zubia

Christian Zuniga

Pandora Zurreal

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