Grads Focus on the Horizon

Diana Necula, left, and Holly Battle begin their celebration early as they enter Irvine Bowl. Photo by Mitch Ridder

By Justin Swanson, Special to the Independent

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 the 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.”

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.

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.


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