Though it’s a month into summer, graduation season didn’t officially end for the Glendale Unified School District until Friday afternoon.
That’s when 35 students from Clark Magnet, Crescenta Valley, Daily, Glendale and Hoover high schools, along with the Verdugo Academy, celebrated a summer commencement in the auditorium at the First United Methodist Church in Glendale.
“These are students who were not able to graduate in June, so we give them the opportunity to finish up in July and have a ceremony, rather than just hand them their transcript and say ‘good luck,’” said Lonny Root, principal at Daily High.
“There’s an actual ceremony where their parents can come in, and we get to congratulate them and recognize their achievements,” Root added.
The 35-minute event allowed representatives from each of the schools to hand out diplomas, while a speaker gave a brief bio about each student.
Hoover High’s Arlington “Vision” Price was so excited to hear his name that the aspiring audio engineer walked right by Hoover assistant principal Mary Mardirosian, who was passing out diplomas, because he was ecstatically waving to family members seated nearby.
After a quick redirection by Daily staff, Price grabbed his paperwork and held it high.
“Honestly, I never really thought I was going to graduate,” said Price, a native of Atlanta, Ga.
“So, the fact that I am is trippy. I’m cool with it and this is better than not graduating. This is everything I could have asked for,” he added.
The graduation provided an opportunity for Daily’s Art Da Silva Faustino to reevaluate his path into the future.
“This feels good because I never really cared about school, and now it feels good,” Faustino said. “The people I’m graduating with, you see their faces all the time, and it’s great to finish with them, and it makes you want to continue.”
Faustino plans to attend Glendale Community College in the fall.
With an audience of about 150 people, the graduation had a small, private-school atmosphere.
“It’s really nice,” Root said. “It’s always been very small and intimate, but dignified, and everyone seems to really enjoy it.”
The commencement also marked a “first” for new Glendale Unified Supt. Vivian Ekchian, who was hired July 1, after the first set of graduations was held.
“This is an incredibly special moment for me,” Ekchian said during the ceremony. “This is my first graduation at Glendale Unified School District and what an honor it is to be able to recognize you young men and women who will go out to the world now that you’re college-, career- and life-ready.”
The commencement on Friday also signaled a starting point for Daily’s Stephen Avila-Gutierrez.
The graduate celebrated with family and friends as it was announced he has enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
“It feels like the beginning of a new chapter, like a new beginning basically, an open door now,” Avila-Gutierrez said. “It was great to have this.”