With about 30 minutes to go before the official program began, young men and women in green gowns were walking briskly into the auditorium lobby.
Others chatted excitedly, or perhaps nervously, with other classmates.
The 2012 Providence High School graduation would soon start in the Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn on Saturday afternoon, and cameras flashed, school officials lined students up, and parents, relatives family and friends hurried to grab and save seats inside the auditorium.
Aliza Tribuzi, 18, said amid the chatter and rush, it was a nerve-racking experience.
“These four years have gone by so fast,” said Tribuzi, who was graduating with Cum Laude honors. “It’s crazy that I’m pretty much never going to see these people again. This is really the last time we’re all going to be together as a class. “
She plans to study health science at Cal State Chico.
Teacher Rafael Vega said the class of 98 students had “matured wonderfully.”
Vega taught them as juniors and seniors, and has been at the school 40 years.
“Some of them are especially bright, some of them are especially good at drama, some of them are especially good at art — the whole gamut, “ said Vega, a former vice principal, director of campus ministry and U.S. history teacher.
Gold, green and red tassels hung around the neck of 17-year-old Edwin Toribio, who graduated with Cum Laude honors.
The tassels represented his achievements in the National Honor Society, the medical focus program, advanced-placement Spanish and Spanish Honor Society.
Toribio plans to attend Cal State Fullerton and study biology.
“It’s hard work paid off, “ Toribio said.
Andrew Carrillo was selected by his peers as the Senior Speaker, and graduates with Summa Cum Laude honors.
He gave an entertaining speech with nods to changes at the campus, fears associated with the start of freshman year and a fight with squirrels that tried to take their belongings. Carrillo also touched on the tight bonds established.
“Go out there and have an adventure,” he said. “May the odds be forever in your favor.”