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Costa Mesa High grads, like pieces of a puzzle, form a larger picture together

Kayla Tougas runs to embrace friends after Costa Mesa High School's commencement ceremony.
Decorated graduate Kayla Tougas runs to embrace friends after Costa Mesa High School’s commencement ceremony Thursday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
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Becoming part of a time honored tradition, 271 graduates of Costa Mesa High School assembled on the Mustangs Field Thursday to bid adieu to the campus that has for many become a second home.

Walking in procession to cheers, applause and the honking of air horns issuing from the crowd packed into the stands, graduates in emerald-colored caps and gowns gathered together one last time as the Class of 2024.

Decorated graduate Lucas Trask shows his CIF championship ring after graduating from Costa Mesa High school on Thursday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Associated Student Body Vice President Sydney Ngo offered three keywords for her fellow classmates to keep in mind as they start the next chapter of their lives — perseverance, inspiration and success.

“I will not stand up here telling you good luck with your future because you don’t need it. Because you have persevered, you have been inspired and you have succeeded. You have everything you need.”

Fellow student speaker Rachel Laurence drew inspiration from the New York Times’ online game Vertex, where seemingly random individual points, when connected, reveal a hidden picture.

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Parents hold up giant grad pictures and scream names during Costa Mesa High School's commencement.
Parents hold up giant grad pictures and scream names during Costa Mesa High School’s commencement ceremony Thursday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Husband-and-wife faculty members Jon and Michelle Lindfors, retiring after nearly 80 years of combined teaching experience, reflected on the topic of delight.

Principal Dipali Potnis encouraged students to think of themselves as individual pieces in a much larger puzzle, each one different but part of a wider, interconnected whole.

“As we stand at the edge of this new chapter in our lives, let us remember the power of connection,” she said.

“Let us cherish the diversity of talents, perspectives and backgrounds that make our community vibrant, and let us never forget that, just like pieces of a puzzle, we are stronger together than we ever could be apart.”

Graduates participate in the traditional "Walk up Arlington."
Graduates with diplomas in hand participate in the traditional “Walk up Arlington” following the Costa Mesa High Commencement Ceremony on Thursday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
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