Grads at Clark Magnet cope with 'the reality of the situation'

Many of Clark Magnet High School’s graduating class of 254 seniors were overcome with emotion Thursday evening, minutes before the ceremony began.

“I’ll cry if I talk,” said 18-year-old Argine Terteryan.

She was standing with her friend, graduating senior Elin Mardirosian, as they recounted their final year in high school and the events that stood out for them — a senior class trip to Catalina Island, prom and a senior class barbecue.

Both students plan on attending Glendale Community College in the fall.

“We just love each other so much and we had the best time,” Terteryan said. “We’re like family.”

Eric Gonzalez said he was overwhelmed with celebrating, saying goodbye to classmates and moving on. In July, he will begin training with the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton and plans to serve in a Special Forces unit.

“Right now, it’s overly emotional. I’m excited to see where everyone’s going, the achievements everyone is getting,” he said. “It’s hard to see that all these people that I’ve been with for four years — that we’re going to get separated, one way or another.”

J.P. Vergara, 18, said he was headed to U.C. Irvine in the fall to study bio-medical engineering.

“The reality of the situation is hitting me,” he said. “It’s a big step for me to try to adapt to that change.”

When Principal Doug Dall took the stage, he listed the seven survival skills that author Tony Wagner concluded as essential in his book, “The Global Achievement Gap.”

Dall defined each one: critical thinking; collaboration across networks; agility and adaptability; initiative and entrepreneurship; effective oral and written communication; ability to access and analyze information; and curiosity and imagination.

Of the seven, Dall said the last skill was most important, adding: “It’s the one we do best at Clark Magnet.”

He told how curiosity and imagination can lead to innovation.

“Innovation is about trial and error, about experimentation, about discovery … and about learning to find your passion. Through this passion, you will learn to find your purpose,” he said.

Five seniors were applauded for having GPAs of 4.3 or higher during their last semester.

Adrian Alvarez, 17, was one of the five. In the fall, he will begin studying forensic science and plans to work as a crime lab specialist.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “All these four years of hard work have finally paid off.”

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