LCHS seniors say 'Viva' until very end

The La Cañada High School seniors who spoke to the large crowd gathered Thursday on the school's football field for the school’s 2011 commencement ceremony shared the same sentiment about their class.

They knew how to have fun. They knew how to live. They knew how to “Viva” — the theme for this year’s group of 381 seniors.

“We knew how to do our work during the day and unleash our Dionysian side at night,” said Camila Lopez, president of the graduating class.

The classmates kept having fun all the way up to the very end of their high school careers. Several beach balls emerged from the group of students and were batted back and forth during the ceremony between the sea of red and yellow graduation gowns, as school administrators scurried to grab them.

David Mkrtchian, one of the evening’s commencement speakers, said the class banded together in their final year of high school because of their ability to have fun together.

“I’m sad, not sad because high school is over, but sad because it’s ending just as soon as it started getting tolerable — dare I say, enjoyable,” Mkrtchian said.

For as much fun as the seniors had this year, the ceremony was also a somber time for reflection, said Patrick Moore, this year’s associated student body president.

“Today it’s time to say goodbye, and goodbyes make you think,” Moore said. “[They] make you think about what you’ve done and what you want to do.”

Principal Jackie Luzak lauded the group of seniors and what they’d been able to accomplish. She stressed that this year’s graduating class is one that excelled in athletics, academics and the performing arts.

“You are a special class. You have an identity of purpose and each of you contributes to your class as a whole,” Luzak said.

Two Spartan athletic teams, boys’ basketball and softball, led by groups of senior standouts captured CIF Southern Section Division titles in 2011. Still, this year’s class maintained the kind of academic standards that are expected from La Cañada High students.

“One cannot help but be amazed by the diversity of talent in our class and the ways in which we’ve accomplished things,” Mkrthcian said.

Elizabeth Cara Green, another student and commencement speaker, said she’d dreamed of graduating high school ever since she had to sit through the nine other people’s graduations. Finally making her dream a reality, she asked her fellow students to applaud their parents, teachers and loved ones before walking on stage to accept their diplomas.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do this or be who we are without all of you,” Green said.

The class of 2011 rose out of their seats, turned around and gave a standing ovation to all those friends and family that came out and packed the bleachers for the commencement ceremony.

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