Despite grueling 100-degree weather Tuesday afternoon, spirits were high among the 625 students in Crescenta Valley High School’s Class of 2019 as they received their diplomas.
Many people in attendance at Osborne Field were seeking any type of shade they could find — some used umbrellas while others used the graduation program — as they waited to cheer on the graduating class.
While parents, family members and friends baked under the sun as they waited for the ceremony to start, the graduating Falcons gathered inside the school’s gym, where industrial fans kept the students cool.
“If we had only graduated last week, it would have been 70 degrees,” graduate Katelyn Blood said before the commencement.
Blood, senior class president, said she’s excited and looking forward to the next chapter in her life.
She plans to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, in the fall and said she’s torn between choosing a major in elementary education or foreign affairs, with an emphasis in business.
Regardless of which path she takes, Blood said she thinks Crescenta Valley High has done more than enough to prepare her for college and adulthood.
“This school has given me confidence,” she said. “Because I’m more sure of myself, I’m more sure that I can help other people.”
Fellow graduate Sydney Reil also intends to go to BYU in the fall and plans to double major in neuroscience and German.
Reil chose neuroscience because she’s interested in being able to explore different areas in the field, including calculus and psychology.
After taking German language classes at Crescenta Valley High during the past four years and being of German decent, Reil said it was natural for her to continue studying the language in college.
When it came down to choosing which college to attend, Reil said she chose BYU because it was a financially wise choice.
“I have a scholarship to attend there, but it’s so cheap by itself,” she said. “It’s such a deal.”
For Reil, the biggest life lesson she learned at Crescenta Valley High came during her years playing water polo.
In the pool, she said she learned how to stay calm under pressure and not get riled up by others. Out of the pool, her coaches did a good job of teaching her and her teammates how to spend time with people they care about and not spend every moment on their smartphones.
“[Crescenta Valley High] has done a great job to make us self-reliant,” Reil said. “We have to be on top of our own stuff in order to succeed.”
While Blood and Reil are moving out of state to pursue their college educations, graduate Carsten Sondergaard will stay local.
He will attend USC in the fall, where he will be majoring in philosophy, politics and law and has aspirations to become an attorney, either as a public defender or a social-justice attorney.
Sondergaard said he has developed meaningful relationships with a lot of his teachers, administrators and other adults he has met through extracurricular activities and regards them as mentors who have helped ready him for adulthood.
Sondergaard said his biggest takeaway from his time at Crescenta Valley High has been learning to do what he loves and not what people tell him to do. He said he hopes that his fellow graduates consider that sentiment as they move forward in life.
“I’ve wasted a lot of my time and a lot of other people’s time doing things that I was told to do but wasn’t committed to,” Sondergaard said. “I learned to cut the fat and do what I actually love and that has improved my life.”