Providence High School senior speaker Alexia Townsend and her 151 classmates got their diplomas Saturday at a peculiar place that had spooked her parents, she said.
“They would have slept here to get good seats, but they didn’t because it’s a graveyard,” she said.
But the solemn surroundings outside the Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills weren’t without meaning, she said.
“Graves quite literally leave their mark on the world,” she said, explaining that her experience at Providence had left its mark on her and her peers.
As they prepared to walk across the stage, students reflected on their time at the close-knit school nestled into the Media District.
From Providence, the graduates would move on to colleges, universities and the working world, leaving behind the small campus that had prepared them to move on, they said.
Students said they would miss the relationships they had developed with their small and diverse group of classmates.
“We were all kind of like a big family,” Daniel Yesayan said.
The school’s multicultural makeup had given each student an additional level of education, from learning how to count in Tagalog, to experimenting with Armenian dancing, Townsend said.
She urged her “newfound family” of classmates to go after their dreams and look to each other for support.
“If you’re ever scared, know that you have all of us in your heart,” she said.
Moving on from that close group of peers would be difficult, but was also exciting, Sahil Patel said.
“It’s like a new chapter,” he said.
Done would be the days of leaving campus to eat lunch at Providence Saint Joseph’s Hospital or visiting nearby Johnny Carson Park, students said, but the lessons learned from the uniquely placed small school would help them forward.
The school’s media and health focus programs, four-year programs that give students increased exposure to professionals and real working situations at the neighboring hospital or from nearby motion picture studios, had also left their mark on the class.
Grace Samson was preparing to move on to a job at Disney, while also hoping to attend classes at a community college.
She was able to use skills garnered from guest lecturers from major studios as well as practical work with cutting-edge software to produce a video that won an award at FilmFest 43, hosted by Assemblyman Paul Krekorian.
Having that experience from Providence had prepared her to move on, she said.
“I’m so excited,” Samson said. “I’m finally done.”
CLASS OF 2009
Niko Abracia, Amanda Acosta, Kellie Alcantara, Michelle Almary, Kyra Alvarenga, Genevieve Amado, Natoleon Ambrosio, Lillian Anduyo, Matthew Angel, Marina Antekelian, Karlo Arciaga, Gretchen Ariate, Johanna Atilano, Talia Avakian, Grace Babbes, Jacqueline Balousek, Joseph Barlak, Melanie Barrera, Christopher Barundia, Khia Bautista, Neil Bautista, Kassandra Bicol, David Brill, Abigail Buendia, Ashley Buhain, Nicholas Calabia, Catherine Carreon, Regan Rose Castillo, Sharon Castillo, Susan Chambers, Joseph Cho, Marissa Choto Turcios, Camille Cueto, Marie Danielian, Jerad DeCastro, Graceli DeGuzman, Michael DeMarco, Karen Devadoss, Albert Digal, Steven Dizon, Clara Domange, Diana Fernandez, Mayra Fernande, Vanessa Fernandez, Jonathan Franyutti, Edward Fritz, Jessica Ganibi, Alyssa Garcia, Heather Garcia, Joseph Garcia, Merujan Gevorkian, Kyle Gilliam, Tracy Gimino, Anthony Gonzalez Lopez, Catherine Grigorian, Brent Handley, Sarkis Haroutunian, Derrick Harris, David Heebner, Alicia Henderson, Ernesto Hernandez, Colin Herrera, Alexandra Heyn, Alexander Hobbs, James Hunt, Brian Anthony Jacobe, Krystal Jagosz, Michael Jagosz, Sarah Jedlicka, Jacob Johnson, Trevor Johnson, Brian Kahm, Christine Karaoglanian, Vivian Keshish, Vahe Khatchadourian, Laura Khayat, Peter Kim, Nikita Lalla, Brianna Lane, Anneliese Laue, Ariane Joyce Lebrilla, Kevin Lee, Ryan Lengson, Cassandra Lohman, Nasrin Madrid, James Mathias, Veronica Maya, Eduardo Mencos, Riguey Mercado, Marela Kay Minosa, April Misa, Chad Mitsunaga, Alexis Mueller, Grace Mun, David Murphy, David Na, Jihan Naginis, Aram Namavar, Arianna Namavar, Emily Nardoni, Aimee Anne Marie Nobleza, Ariyana Nues, Robert Nutt Jr., Andre Nuyda, Ani Ohanessian, Gabrielle Orellana, John Pak, Sahil Patel, Fillipe Pati, Andrey Pilikyan, Erik Punzalan, Alexis Quasarano, Desiree Anne Marie Quebral, Arturo Ramirez, Adam Rao, Katharina Ritter, Ryan Roope, Melissa Salvador, Grace Samson, Aygun Sanchez, Catherine Sanchez, Karine Sarkisian, Toluca Scarfo, Anthony Scott, Areni Shahinian, Michelle Shahnazarians, Thomas Shiba, Gazell Siman, Shannon Stone, Katrina Tapang, Sareen Tawilian, Diana Tekeian, Anna TerZakarian, Carine Tomassian, Macy Tone, Alexander Toro, Jhustinn Torres, Alexia Townsend, Natta Trivimol, Kristin Upshaw, Erica Usi, Evelyn Valdivieso, Ramir Vega, Ignacio Villa, Emely Villacorta, Mikhaila Vinuya, Daniela Voosen, Ashley Wedekind, Stephanie Weitekamp, Taylor Wilkey, Daniel Yesayan, Robert Zelaya