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John Burroughs High School:

‘Each of you has unique talents’

June 07, 2008|By Alison Tully

Student Jennifer Alvarenga, 17, woke up feeling sad Thursday morning because in a few short hours she would be leaving behind four years’ worth of memories at John Burroughs High School.

“I just wanted to cry,” said Alvarenga, who plans to start classes at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising this summer. “I am going to miss the security of high school because now I have to face the reality of going to college and getting a job.”

“It all feels surreal,” said fellow graduate Autumn Levandoski, 17. “It hasn’t hit me yet. It feels like I am going to come back to school soon, but I am not.”


Alvarenga and Levandoski were among 590 students that colored Memorial Stadium in red caps and gowns at the school’s graduation ceremony. Students hugged and cheered in celebration of getting one step closer to their future careers.

“I’m pumped to the max,” Jonathan Bohn, 18, said. Bohn plans to work at the Boys and Girls Club in Burbank this summer and eventually enroll at the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena.

Bohn and the entire graduating class wore green ribbons pinned to the top of their gowns in honor of Tania Hurd, the school’s culinary arts teacher. Hurd was killed in a helicopter crash on Catalina Island during Memorial Day weekend. The school band and choir also performed “Unforgettable,” a song originally performed by Nat King Cole that was very special to Hurd, Principal Emilio Urioste said.

“She was such an inspiration to me,” Bohn said. “She will be greatly missed.”

Urioste said this year’s class was full of students who are very dedicated to the community.

“We have a requirement at the school that students perform 10 hours of outside volunteer work to graduate,” he said. “This year, we had several students that performed 100 hours or more.”

The school’s bleachers were filled with teary parents who watched as their children prepared to move on to college or the work place.

“I am sad because she is grown up and had become a young lady. She isn’t my baby girl anymore,” said parent Kelle Slater. Her daughter Karissa Lagmay, who participated in the Junior Olympics last year with the San Gabriel Volleyball League, plans to attend Cal Poly Pomona, where she will continue her sports career.

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