Hoover High student Anahit Muradian on Thursday became the first person from her family to graduate from an American high school.
But the road to graduation wasn’t easy.
Her family moved from Armenia to the United States when she was 6. Starting at an early age, Muradian, 18, said she made it her mission in life to give back to her community.
“This country has given so much to me,” she said. “None of us would be here without our parents.”
Muradian, who graduated as valedictorian, will attend USC, where she will major in economics and eventually enroll in law school.
“I am going to be a lawyer and then a judge,” she said.
Muradian was one of 400 seniors who graduated Thursday night in front of hundreds of cheering friends and family members.
Some graduates will be attending Harvard, Arizona State University and the Fashion Institute of Technology, Hoover Principal Jennifer Earl said. Other students received Fulbright Scholarships.
Graduate Preny Karamian will attend UC Irvine, where she will study biochemical engineering.
She plans to works on machines that analyze cells to eventually produce disease-fighting medicines.
But while Karamian looks forward to her future, she said will miss her friends and teachers.
This year’s graduating class performed more than 10,000 hours of community service and raised more than $15,000 for the Relay for Life, which supports cancer-fighting research, Earl said.
Members of this senior class, she said, tend to consider themselves rebels.
“You have questioned and challenged us this year, and yet here we are,” Earl said.
And while the senior class challenged their teachers, Muradian said she learned a lot from them.
Some teachers, she said, “just make you feel like you can do it.”
“They share stuff with us, and we can turn to them for anything and all kinds of help.”