Thousands of family members and friends crowded into Ferguson Field at Hoover High School on Thursday to give a heartfelt send-off to the members of the Class of 2012.
“It is weird. It is four years — it felt like two minutes,” said Joseph Moghaddam, 18, as he waited for the orchestra to cue up the first notes of the graduation march.
“It went really, really fast. You have to make the most of it because you think ‘It is going to take so long.’ But when the day comes you are actually sitting here, your whole high school [career] has passed. All you can do is remember.”
The approximately 450 graduates donned robes in Hoover’s colors of purple and white to take to the field, where they shared favorite memories and plans. A supplemental program listed each student’s college or university of choice, as well as the names of several students who intend to join the military.
School officials recognized several graduates for outstanding academic achievements and service, including California Scholarship Federation honorees and National Honors Society members.
Within the Class of 2012 were some of the first members of the Hoover High School Safety Academy and the Tornado TV crew, said Principal Jennifer Earl. They were also among the first participants in the Glenwood Road Block Party, now an annual celebration of the arts for neighboring Hoover High School, Toll Middle School and Keppel Elementary School.
“They have paved the path for others, left their mark on our community and established a legacy for generations to come,” Earl said.
Student body President Mary Arakelyan reminded her classmates that the “best is yet to come.”
“Don’t walk out of here thinking this experience is going to be the milestone of your life because all you will end up doing is living in the past rather than striving to create your future,” Arakelyan said. “The point is to go out and make new memories.”
Four years at Hoover taught her classmates both the discipline needed to succeed in class as well as the invaluable skill of laughing often and uncontrollably, said senior class President Wenona Carlos.
“We are without a doubt ready and fully equipped for this new adventure,” Carlos said. “But the world has no idea of the greatness that is about to hit them — the greatness that is Hoover High School Class of 2012.”