Graduation, a day filled with nerves, excitement

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On May 31, I had the amazing opportunity to graduate alongside my peers. It was a thrilling day, one filled with numerous emotions and some great camaraderie.

After four years of hard work and dedication, it was finally time to see all of our achievements come to a close as we looked towards the future for a new chapter to begin.

The day started off quite well. While the temperature was expected to be scorching hot considering that the ceremony was to take place during a summer’s afternoon, it was surprisingly foggy outside. The clouds that lied overhead remained present throughout the entire day, providing a literal barrier from the sun while keeping our bodies moderately cool during the event.

Aside from the weather, the atmosphere at home was quite interesting as well. I can’t speak on behalf of the rest of my class, but as for me, my parents were really going all out. I recall my mother ironing my garments as well as my honor sashes multiple times while my father did all sorts of things in preparation of my graduation party that was to come later in the day. On the other hand, I don’t remember doing a lot other than a bit of house cleaning.

Otherwise, it felt like a normal morning, which was the most surprising aspect of that day. The moment I woke up, I expected to feel a rush of emotions, perhaps have some sort of revelation or an adrenaline rush. Instead, all that came to mind was what time I was supposed to arrive at Storm Stadium where graduation was to take place. Regardless, I was still expecting something to hit me as if to say, “I had done it, I’m finally finished.”

After that hectic morning, I finally readied my clothes and put on the royal blue cap and gown, displaying my honor cords and whatnot on top of everything else.

With my attire all set, my dad drove me behind the stadium where each of us had been instructed to meet the day prior when we had rehearsal. At that point, which was approximately 1 p.m. I had been pretty content with how everything was going; my family is notoriously infamous for being late to important events, and this was luckily not one of those moments.

Since the ceremony was scheduled to begin around 3 p.m., that gave the rest the seniors about two hours of socializing. The majority of this time was dedicated to taking photos, having conversations, and just getting set to walk the field. But those two hours sure went by quickly.

Before I knew it, we were already making our way down towards the center of the field. Row by row, the class of 2017 filled each aisle with a sea of blue. Once everyone had taken their places, the national anthem had been recited and signed by Titans

Daniel Czech, Savanna Nugent, and Jailynne Ortega. Additionally, formal speeches were given by our very own Principal, Dr. Whitney D’Amico, executive LEUSD administrators as well as the valedictorian Kyle Salcido and salutatorian Duha Alfatlawi.

Then, the big moment arrived in which we received that single piece of paper.

It was at this point, walking down the aisle to shake our principal’s hand, that it hit me that I had made it: I finally graduated high school. It was a bittersweet moment, as I’m pretty sure it was for a majority of my peers. Yes, we were leaving behind the past four years of our lives, but at the same time, we were about to embark on the scariest, yet most gratifying point in this road we call life.

So, once we had all received our diplomas, we stood together, turned those tassels from right to left, and it was as simple as that. We made it. The rest of the evening was dedicated to family plans and plenty of photo sessions. For me, I had a small family gathering with a few of my friends. All in all, it was a pretty surreal day, one that I am sure to never forget.

With the end of the school year, and the start of a new part in my life, that also means some sad news on my behalf. With summer programs and a busy schedule, it is with my absolute pleasure to say that it has been a wonderful year writing for The Friday Flyer.

Even though I haven’t written on a very consistent basis, and I am not even sure how many people actually read my articles, the experience is something I have really enjoyed. I hope to pursue writing in the future as I take my next step in life at the University of California, Berkeley in the upcoming fall semester.

With the utmost gratitude, thank you to Donna Ritchie as well as the rest of The Friday Flyer newspaper for allowing me to be published alongside each and every one of you.

And to those teens still in high school, I offer you this one final quote by my seventh grade English and history teacher: “I can’t means I won’t. If you at least try, you will never fail.”

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Justin Dela Cruz