“We’re going to bring out the robots!” Clark Magnet High principal Lena Kartoshian told the family and friends of students in the school’s 19th graduating class on Tuesday evening.
Two robots emerged from the aisles separating the green capped-and-gowned students and spun around in celebratory circles next to the podium where Kartoshian stood, beaming.
Applause broke out for the robotics team — and the members’ award-winning robots.
It was an appropriate send-off for the 222 graduates of the school located in La Crescenta, which emphasizes science and technology.
Keynote speaker Martin Manucharyan, a water-quality specialist with Glendale’s public utility, said that, at work, he’s considered the “tech guy” — even though he’s not in the technology industry or tech department.
“That’s because Clark taught me how to learn technology,” said Manucharyan, who graduated from the school in 2002. “Not just what was new at the time, 20 years ago, but how to keep up with advancements as soon they happen.”
“That’s what Clark has instilled in all of you — the ability to be a better learner than those around you,” he added.
Both Manucharyan and Kartoshian urged students to stake out the less-traveled paths in life.
“Take the road that has some gravel or sand. Make it yours,” said Kartosian, evoking Robert Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Not Taken.”
Manucharyan, who was part of Clark’s first graduating class when it became a magnet school, said he also pursued the less-beaten path when he “chose to take the leap and go to the shiny new school on the hill.”
It was a theme that resonated in student David Zakaryan’s speech, in which he described the initial anxiety, but ultimate satisfaction, of leaving the comfort of his old school to be thrust in a new environment at Clark.
Zakaryan credited his father with pushing him, and suggested other parents do the same.
“Without free fall, they will never know they can fly,” he said.
It’s an experience many of the students will now have anew as they venture into the unknown.
According to graduating senior Nare Nazaryan, who plans to study biology at UCLA, getting into a four-year university is “pretty exciting, but also nerve wracking at the same time.”
“There’s just too much to process now,” said fellow graduating senior Sangam Sharma as she walked to the ceremony.
With a grade-point average of 4.48, Sharma was named the class’ salutatorian, or the student with the second highest GPA.
Some students, like Wayne Baker, are heading straight off the beaten path.
This summer, Baker will head to Africa for a two-week mission trip before earning his GED online. Then he plans to attend an evangelical Christian university in Virginia before attempting to break into the film industry.