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‘An entire future lies ahead’

June 06, 2009|By Zain Shauk

The future may be uncertain for the class of 2009, but one thing is clear, senior Marianne Epstein told her fellow John Burroughs High School graduates Thursday.

“The worst is over — no more state testing,” she said.

Her speech, one of six by students, drew cheers from the crowd of cap-and-gown-clad students on the school’s football field.

Bursts of confetti and screams of joy capped off the ceremony, which took place under stadium lights as a cool breeze blew across the field, waving tassels and red gowns.

Students had spoken to the group about the completion of what may have been the best four years of their lives — so far. And they looked ahead with excitement.

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“An entire future lies ahead of us that is full of possibilities,” Robert Farmer, one of two valedictorians, told the audience. “All we have to do is go and take ours.”

Seniors reflected on their friendships at Burroughs, some of which had grown during 13 years in school.

Some talked of bonds forged on sports teams, in music groups or on morning runs to a nearby snack stop for breakfast burritos. Others were most affected by their academic experiences.

The strong friendships made during the familiar routine of high school might soon be tested with distance, as peers begin to spread across the region, country and world for education and work, students said.

“I’m a little emotional to be leaving because this is like my home,” said Nathalie Torres, who wasn’t sure which of her friends she would be able to keep in touch with as years begin to pass.

But fears of separation didn’t put a damper on the celebration.

Students danced, hopped and skipped across the field after getting their time to be in the spotlight and receiving diploma covers from members of the Board of Education.

When the ceremony was over, students high-fived, jumped, hugged and kissed before eventually boarding buses headed to Disneyland for a nightlong celebration.

“It’s just a great emotional experience,” said Cameron Blocker, who was among a group of boys chest-bumping and shouting with excitement as the field cleared.

Christian Zuniga relished the moment.

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