Some seniors wore clues to their future plans on their caps during Clark Magnet High School's graduation ceremony on Thursday evening.
A handful of students had personalized the caps with the initials or nicknames of the colleges they would be attending.
Brian Seo, 18, painted â€œCalâ€ in yellow on the top of his cap. He is heading to UC Berkeley in the fall, where he plans to study philosophy as a precursor to law school.
While Seo is excited about his next step, he knows it also means that he and his classmates will be going their separate ways.
â€œA lot of us aren't going to see each other, so it's kind of sad,â€ he said.
Adriana Valencia, 17, who is headed to Colorado State University and plans to study veterinary medicine, wrote the letters â€œCOâ€ on her hat for her college's state.
â€œIt's bittersweet,â€ Adriana said about graduation.
She feels well-prepared for college, though, and said she developed many skills through Clark's project-based curriculum.
Clark's overall smaller size relative to the other Glendale Unified School District high schools had real benefits for Nikiya Crisostomo, 17. She took many math, science and technology classes at the school â€” which emphasizes science and technology â€” and developed an interest in architectural engineering.
â€œClark helped me grow a lot,â€ Nikiya said. â€œIt helped me really find who I am.â€
At a larger school, she might not have developed such a strong sense of self, she said.
â€œI think this is really where I found out I want to be an engineer,â€ she said.
Clark's 2008 graduating class had 223 students.
Nikiya is headed for Stanford University, which her older sister also attends. She wore her sister's old graduation cap â€” with a red â€œSâ€ emblazoned on it â€” for the ceremony.
During the ceremony, students and educators praised Clark as a close-knit community where the students all got to know one another.
â€œThis school has become a second home to us,â€ said Gaik Pobokhian, one of two students who gave speeches at the ceremony. â€œHigh school is not just a place for academics. It's a place to grow and flourish.â€
Julia Song, the other student speaker, said her experience at a diverse school like Clark had taught her to stop stereotyping people.
â€œWe have to learn how to accept each other's differences,â€ she said.
A handful of graduating seniors with the top grade-point averages in the class were also recognized during the ceremony.
Angie Wang, who has a grade-point average of 4.49, was named salutatorian, and Haig Malkhasyan, with a grade-point average of 4.519, was named valedictorian.