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Providence seniors say farewell

With college applications and final exams behind them — for now — the 96 members of Providence High School’s Class of 2011 said their goodbyes at commencement Saturday.

“I’m excited to go to college because it seems like more freedom,” said Natalie Ohrt, who will enroll in the fall at Cal State Channel Islands. “But I am sad because I will miss my friends every day.”

The ceremony drew a packed crowd to Liberty Hall at Forest Lawn, Hollywood, where guests created their own audio track of applause after a faulty sound system rendered the entrance song inaudible.

Interim Head of School Michael Collins, who was celebrating his final Providence graduation, praised the students for their stewardship of the school and of one another. He paid special recognition to class valedictorian Mark Quintos and salutatorian Ana Solis, who finished with 4.31 and 4.27 grade-point averages, respectively.


“Graduates, your faith, your talents and your goodwill have been extremely critical to our school’s current status and help assure Providence High School’s momentum into this decade and beyond,” Collins said.

Student speaker Julie Boutros said that for some, high school commencement is one more step in ongoing educational pursuits, while for others it marks the chance to explore themselves in alternative settings. But no matter the next move, the change presents new experiences and new obstacles, she said.

The educational and social environment at Providence is unlike that at any other local high school, Boutros added.

“Being at Providence has allowed us to be goofy, to be weird by the normal standards, to be nerdy, to be socially awkward, to be anything we wanted to be without fear of being rejected,” Boutros said. “We belong here.”


The Class of 2011 has always maintained a winning attitude demonstrated by its strong school spirit, Boutros said.

Sue Georgino, chair of the school’s Board of Regents, noted that Providence High School is about more than strong academics, athletics, drama and music.

“Providence High School is about preparing you for your responsibilities of service to your family, your community and our world,” Georgino said.

The seniors’ daily interactions with their teachers and classmates are proof that their gifts are the loving grace of providence, and are to be used to further Jesus’ gospel call, she said.

“We know by your actions this year that you are ready for whatever path you chose,” Georgino said.