Graduating from Clark Magnet High School and becoming an adult were intimidating for senior Colette Zakarian.
Even so, it became reality for the 17-year-old Glendale resident and more than 200 of her classmates who graduated Friday.
"As much as people say they want to leave high school, this year has just been major for me," Colette said. "Everyone is like a family, so that's the hardest part."
Colette graduated with a community service honor after volunteering 100 hours at a senior living home.
She was one of 122 graduates who earned the same achievement.
The Class of 2010 volunteered a combined 16,000 hours during their four years at the nationally recognized high school, Principal Doug Doll said.
Colette said she plans to continue volunteering after high school and will be attending Pasadena City College with hopes of transferring to USC.
Leaving Clark Magnet was bittersweet for Colette, who said she had a difficult time getting familiar with the high school when she started as a freshman.
"All my friends were like 'I want to graduate,' and not once did I say that because I knew that so much responsibility was coming my way," Colette said.
Colette's mother, Ghayane Zakarian, fought back tears as she remembered the challenges her daughter overcame to graduate with honors.
Colette will be the second sibling to graduate from Clark Magnet. After graduating from the high school, Colette's brother went on to Pepperdine University.
Nearly 60 seniors graduated as lifetime members of the California Scholarship Federation, which honors students who have shown high standards in academics and citizenship.
Graduates received a paperweight with a quote from Aristotle and copy of John Wooden's book "Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and off the Court."
Graduate Fahad Nathani, who graduated with a 4.5 grade-point average, was up for class valedictorian.
Accomplishing high honors was no easy feat for the 17-year-old Glendale resident, who got "senioritis" his last year.
"After 12 years of school, you finally lose the drive to keep going," he said.
But Fahad will keep going, attending UCLA to study mechanical engineering.