In a tradition dating back 80 years, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy graduates wore white dresses and gloves and held bouquets of red roses as they graduated from high school on Sunday.
More than 1,500 guests watched the 97 members of the Class of 2012 in the ceremony at Crane Field, with the San Gabriel Mountains serving as the backdrop. On the same day, 96 seniors at Flintridge Preparatory School graduated before friends and family at the Pasadena Convention Center.
Sacred Heart Valedictorian Nora Welsh, 18, spoke of the values the school imprinted on the Class of 2012 for the past four years, but also how the girls contributed to Sacred Heart traditions in their own way.
“We are a challenging class,” said Welsh. “As each one of our teachers and coaches challenged us, we likewise challenged them.”
Welsh said as a freshman she was scared to speak her mind, but grew more bold with the help of mentors. She said the Class of 2012 is a confident crew. “We are not a shy bunch,” she said. “I am not worried about our futures, I'm excited.”
The all-girl Catholic high school offered awards based on academics, leadership and religious service and offered an international student award. International students comprise 13% of the Sacred Heart student body.
Welsh received the most awards, including general excellence and a scholarship medal. She will attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Salutatorian Sarah Huerta, 18, also received a scholarship medal award. She started her speech with a dedication to Liza Mason Fluet, a 1968 alumna and longtime Sacred Heart director of college counseling, who is leaving the school.
Huerta thanked parents for leading the students' transformation from young girls to young women, noting that when the Class of 2012 entered its freshman year, the members got tips on wearing makeup and high heels from their elders. Four years later, Huerta said, the girls can do their own make up and “our high heels, well they just keep getting progressively higher.”
Flintridge Prep's 2012 valedictorian is Eli Weinstein, who also won one of the school's highest honors, the Robert A. Benton Memorial Award. Weinstein will attend Harvard University. Salutatorian Nikhita Poole, who plans to go to Caltech, won the Founder's Trophy.
City Editor Bill Kisliuk contributed to this story.