Costa Mesa High Class of 2023 walks toward the future, while reflecting on legacy left behind

Decorated graduates Thursday walk in a procession at Costa Mesa High School's graduation ceremony.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Costa Mesa High School’s Class of 2023 on Thursday matriculated from the campus that has become like a second home, but one thing is certain — they’ll never forget their time there or memories they’ve shared, nor will they soon be forgotten.

A team of 273 Mustangs took seats on the stadium field to accept their diplomas and — with help from student speakers ASB President Clarice Encarnacion and Senior Class President Itzel Ramirez — reflected on the last four years.

Ramirez encouraged fellow classmates to remember that while they leave Costa Mesa High, their presence will remain in the legacy they’ve left behind, “a legacy of perseverance, unity, love, excellence and family.”

Costa Mesa High ASB president Clarice Encarnacion at the school's commencement.
Costa Mesa High ASB president Clarice Encarnacion takes a breath before her speech at the school’s commencement ceremony.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Incarnacion said the thriving life on campus helped her become a big fish in a small pond. She encouraged others to adopt that attitude in the next leg of their journey.


“Go out into the world with this big fish mentality and find out what you are passionate about,” she said. “There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from trying everything in order to discover your passion.”

Retiring staff members athletic director Sharon Uhl and instrumental music director Sandy Gilboe shared fond memories of their careers, concluding their comments with a resounding cry of, “Once a Mustang, always a Mustang!”

Graduate Jammal Campbell prepares to proceed to the graduation ceremony.
Graduate Jammal Campbell prepares to proceed to the 2023 Costa Mesa High School graduation ceremony Thursday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer )

CHMS Principal Dupali Potnis, who came to the school this year from TeWinkle Middle School, spoke about her dream of becoming a high school principal and told seniors she couldn’t have asked for a better first graduating class.

“This senior class just gets it,” she said in a comment. “They embody with confidence who they are and are reflective. They strive to be better people, while thinking of the greater good. They believe in working for the collective community so that this world can be a better place.”

A graduate waves at Costa Mesa High School's commencement ceremony.
A graduate waves to family and friends at Costa Mesa High School’s commencement ceremony.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)