Honing in on the Horizon

By Justin Swanson, Special to the Independent


Diana Necula, attending Saddleback College on the left and Holly Battle moving on to the University of Arizona in the fall, begin their celebration early as they enter Irvine Bowl.

Laguna Beach High School’s graduating class of 2012 reveled in their commencement where some 239 students met the end of their high school careers.

The air last Thursday, June 21, in the Festival of Arts’ Irvine Bowl was jocular if not occasionally sentimental as student and teacher speakers addressed thed audience, conjuring a twilight-retrospective of fondly culled recollections fastened by the joyous immediacy of the celebration and tempered by a growing recognition of the onset of a brave new world.

The character of this class was on display, and from afar it betrayed a certain communal allegiance demonstrative of time spent in support of one another.

Such loyalty did not go unnoticed by the adult speakers who praised the class for their unique brand of kinship.

Principal Joanne Culverhouse made note that her career has followed the graduations of a portion of the class who also attended El Morro and Thurston.  In her estimation, the class of 2012 was and is, “the most kind, compassionate, and caring group of people I’ve ever known,” pleading throughout her speech that students go forth and “be significant” in their endeavors.

As the selected teacher speaker, Jonathan Todd, who graduated from LBHS 25 years ago, acknowledged the class as, “the best, most caring, cohesive, supportive class I have ever seen.”

The emotional highpoint of the evening came when wheelchair bond Celestina DeLeon thanked her classmates for their friendships and support, then announced she would walk across the stage to receive her diploma.

Much of the rest of Todd’s speech was a delightful jaunt through inside jokes and impressions and relevant topics directed towards the amusement of the rollicking students. Todd also made time to address the fact that the students “are heading out on a journey that will define [their lives],” suggesting his core audience “never forget where you came from and where you’ve been,” and in the future, “give back to the community you end up in,” as a token of appreciation for all the students have gleaned while living in Laguna Beach.

Macklin Thornton, king of the kitchen, gets a great laugh with this childhood photo, as he crosses the stage.

The senior address was given by Marley Donenfeld who depicted a comical hypothetical day in the life of an LBHS student to reflect a larger message about the significance of making decisions large and small, as well as the consequent struggle to “persevere through obstacles” when the unplanned occurs.

Focusing on the future, valedictorian Conor Ross urged his classmates to become their own masters by defining their own quests and their own terms of happiness while acknowledging that each member of the graduating class “would not have gotten where we are without each other.”

Resident Justin Swanson is an Indy intern.

Travis Clawson, who plans to attend BYU after first completing his mission, receives his diploma.

Photos by Mitch Ridder


Irvine Bowl filled to capacity.

Laguna Beach High School, Class of 2012

Senior Speaker Marley Donenfeld, attending the University of Maryland in the fall, gives the Senior Address.

Acevedo Mesa, Mariana
Acosta, Juan
Adams, Shannon
Alkateb, Samer
Alonso Avalos, Stephanie
Andersen, Yoshiye
Andrews, Ashley
Arteaga, Melanie
Aubrey, Hannah
Austin, Nicholas
Baghchehsarai, Hadi
Baptista, Robert
Barker, Lucas
Barnes, Teagan
Barnes, Tori
Barton, Katharine
Battle, Holly
Bechtel, Marcella
Belyea, Gordon
Berger, Moriah
Berri, Huda
Bevilaqua Keith, Nicholas
Bilbrey, Cameron
Bisconti, Kaleigh
Blanton, Bryce
Bonin, Kailani
Bourne, Beau
Boyd, Kylie
Brian, Madeline
Brunner, Nicholas
Bui, Brittany
Bush, Avery
Busic, Sarah
Calabrese, Blake
Cannan, Caroline
Capobianco, Nicholas
Carlson, April
Castro, Cassandra
Castro, Danielle
Cavanaugh, Ryan
Chait, Cassidy
Chastain, Christa
Chun, Jeremy
Clawson, Travis
Collins, Carissa
Condy, Kevin
Cooper, Conner
Cornell, Chase
Cornwell, Zane
Cwieka, Morgan
Danford, Savanna
Davis, Elizabeth
DeCarlo, Zachary
Delatorre, Enrique
DeLeon, Celestina
Delgado, Shasta
Donenfeld, Marley
Doran, Dane
Dwight, Isabelle
Eagle, Aaron
Eidt, Caroline
Eisert, Savannah
Elbaz, Stefano
Elghanayan, Nicolai
Espiritu, Nayele
Farnes, Gregory
Feldman, Nicholas
Ferguson, Juliana
Gallo, Amanda
Garmshausen, Calvin
Genesta, Adam
Gerges, Veronica
Gogatz, Paula
Goshtasbi, Vesta
Graf, Savannah
Graf, Zachary
Hammond, Hunter
Harris, Rhya
Hastings, Allison
Henrikson, Erik
Heussenstamm, Beau
Hilen, Jase
Hillemann, Austin
Holt, Cheyenne
Holte, Caroline
Horne, Jon David
Hung, Teresa
Hunt, Alex
Huynh, Leanne
Hyland, Belinda
Iannotti, Michael
Jaeger, Claire
Jaffe, Zachary
Jaimes, Miguel
Jensen, Shelby
Johnson, Austin
Jones, Ryan
Jonus, Hannah Mary
Joseph, Brenda
Kahn, Benjamin
Kahn, Taylor
Kawashiri, Laura
Keyser, Mary
Khachadoorian, Mollie
Killian, Rachele
Kimball, Michael
Kinsman, Nicholas
Kirkbride, Evan
Kirkland, Wyatt
Klimek, Anthony
Kramer, Elan
Kravitz, Adam
Ladislao Ramirez, Magali
Lambert, Selina
Larek, Natalia
Leach, Paulina
LeBon, Zachary
Lee, Aaron
Leighton, Nicolas
Lewis, Brandon
Loomis, Austin
Lopez, Camille
Lynde, Victoria
Lyster, Sylvi
MacDowall, Nikiya
Magstadt, Hanna
Malleo, Alexandra
Martinez, Noelle
Masson, Melena
Masukawa, Tyler
Mathews, Morgan
Matthews, Davis
Mattingley, Stephanie
Mauntel, Paul
Mayer, Brianna
McConnell, Nolan
McCrory, Amanda
McGowan, Trevor
McMahon, Katherine
McMillan, Kenzie
McQueen, Alexander
Mejia Duran, Adam
Mendoza, Vivian
Mendoza, Yaretsi
Menes, Cristian
Menkes, Alexandra
Merchant, Marisa
Michaels, Lauren
Miller, Nikolette
Moeller Guerra, Joaquin
Moll, Chloe
Montes, Maddison
Montgomery, Lauren
Montgomery, Lauren
Moore, Sebastian
Munayyer, Thomas
Naude, Frances
Neal, Clayton
Necula, Diana
Nguyen, Kimberly
Nichols, Curtis
Nichols, Tyler
Nielson, Savannah
Nixon, Thomas
Noppenberger, Paul
O Brien, Matthew
O Bryan, Erik
Oberndorf, Julia
Ornelas, Torrie
Otsu, Laura
Owens Shearer, Jessalyn
Palmer, Allison
Paul, Marina
Penney, Norton
Peterson, Timothy
Pierini, Santi
Pillsbury, John
Polizzi, Julian
Purll, Samantha
Ramirez Lopez, Natalie
Redding Kaufman, Adam
Redwitz, Natalie
Reeves, Conrad
Reeves, William
Reigel, Derek
Renner, Thomas
Reynolds, Myriah
Rezvan Nobahar, Farnoush
Rice, Kyle
Rivera, Macarena
Rivers, Querida
Roger, Sebastian
Rogers, Jake
Rogers, Katharine
Rogers, Lily
Romanow, Avrie
Romatoski, Bailey
Romero, Drew
Ronson, Tara
Ross, Conor
Rotert, Dylan
Rousseau IV, William
Rubel, Evan
Rubow, Brianna
Sadler, George
Schaller, Cayla
Scott, K C
Shapero, Alexander
Shirley, Miles
Simkin, Joshua
Solis, David
Sorensen, Jamie
Stevens, Lucas
Strickland, Natasha
Sullivan, Samantha
Thornton, Macklin
Thornton, Nina
Thornton, Samuel
Toma, Tori
Tupy, Jackson
Ulibarri, Kevin
Unterberger, Ansley
Walsh, Katelyn
Ward, Connor
Weiss, Taylor
Wellsfry, Samuel
White, Jeffrey
White, Kalysta
Wild, William
Williams, Alec
Williams, Harrison
Williams, Timothy
Wills, Jordan
Winn, John
Wolf, Erika
Yamasaki, Jackson
Young, Isabella
Zarinelli, Dane
Zona, Remington

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  1. Scott Tucker

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