(Editor’s note: Photographer Rich Schmitt took some excellent photos of the graduation event–to see the fine selection, visit: http://richschmittphotography.com/paligradlow/. These photos may not be used or reproduced without permission).
By CHAZ PLAGER
In a fortunate departure from the past three years, the Palisades Charter High School graduation was sunny and clear this year on June 8.
Promptly at 3:30 p.m., 749 graduating seniors, followed by members of the faculty, filed into the PaliHi Stadium by the Sea, to the processional “Pomp and Circumstance,” played by the Pali Orchestra.
In an unfortunate turn of events, there was an error on ticketing and about 40 parents were unhappily stranded outside the gates during the ceremony.
Once everyone had filed in, Student Body President Peter Garff, led the Pledge of Allegiance. A Pali jazz ensemble performed the National Anthem.
A multilingual welcome was performed by 16 students, each in their native languages, which included Farsi, Tagalog, Hebrew, Korean, French and Spanish.
Principal Dr. Pam Magee gave the opening address. “I think everyone here deserves to thank their teachers – the unsung heroes of our nation, who have prepared these seniors for the next chapters of their lives.”
After her address, Dr. Magee invited LAUSD Board member Nick Melvoin to speak. He shared his wisdom for what to do after graduation: “I think most graduation speakers will tell you to go out and change the world. I will too.
“But the world is rarely changed by grand, sweeping gestures; rather, acts of kindness spread among many will change it,” Melvoin said.
PaliHi’s acapella choir, AcaPali, performed “End of the Road” a 1992 R &B song by Boyz II Men, “Although we’ve come to the end of the road, Still I can’t let go. It’s unnatural. You belong to me. I belong to you.” Although the lyrics are about a relationship breakup, it also signifies that something has run its course.
Student Council President Talia Davood followed the song with a heartfelt speech about what will come next for Pali students and herself.
Dohyun “Andy” Ju gave the valedictorian address about the accomplishments that he and students had made in their four years at Pali.
Next was PaliHi’s chorus, who performed a cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears: “Welcome to your life/There’s no turning back. . . .”
Brent Madriejo was this year’s student speaker, who spoke on his struggles with cancer and utilizing the time left in one’s life. “Today, we celebrate what we have accomplished and keep going. Persist!”
Academic Director Dr. Chris Lee expressed his well wishes to the graduating class and began the diploma presentation alongside Dr. Magee.
Each student approached the stage and received their diploma as their name was read, some approaching the stage in unconventional ways such as cartwheels, dance routines, or flips. Once the presentation had completed, the graduating class cathartically threw their diplomas into the air, celebrating the end of four years and the beginning of the rest of their lives.