Friday, June 12, 2009

High School Seniors are College Bound

Boys and Girls Club ‘College Bound’

Pictured are two of the nearly 200 students in College Bound, a program of the Boys and Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor. The class of 2009 was honored in a ceremony Wednesday at the Warner Grand Theatre.

Board chair Michael Lebovitz is pictured presenting commendations to the graduates.

This year, one of the students became the first accepted to an Ivy League school. The program also celebrated the first acceptances to NYU, Notre Dame, USC and Berkeley.

City Attorney-elect Carmen Trutanich was the keynote speaker. After recounting the story of his underdog campaign, he told the students, “Odds are something to be beaten. I ran because it gave me the opportunity to leave a legacy. As you sit here today, you have the opportunity to leave your legacy. Don’t let yourself down. Work hard.”

Port of Los Angeles High School

Friends and family packed the house to be part of the historic first graduation for the Port of Los Angeles High School. The public charter school opened in 2005 and graduated 90 seniors Friday. Three students are enlisting in the military and the remainder are going to college.

Co-valedictorian Julia Williams, top, delivered the invocation. She will attend Mount Saint Mary’s College outside of downtown L.A. Co-valedictorian Sophia Lopez, bottom, gave the farewell address. She’s headed up to UC Berkeley.

In her keynote speech, Councilwoman Janice Hahn used maritime metaphors to describe the students’ journey. “For the last four years, you all have been moving down the main channel of life. Today, you have reached the breakwater.

“And as you enter the breakwater, you now have to navigate through all of life’s storms. But, as any sailor knows, it never really is about the storm but about how you cast your sails. And just like the various ships and boats we see when we look out to our port, you will all serve different roles in your lives.

“Some of you will put out fires, both figuratively and literally, like our fire boat. Some will serves as guides to others, much like our tug and pilot boats. Some of you will travel to far-away destinations, like our container ships. And the, of course, there will be those of you that just want to have a good time, much like our cruise ships,” Hahn said.

After playfully envisioning the students’ college experiences – eating chips and soda for breakfast, “seeing two sunrises in a row” – Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz encouraged students to apply for jobs in the port, saying she’d be proud to walk the administration building and find port high graduates on staff.

Each graduate posed with the school’s executive director, James Cross (left), and principal Tom Scotti. Students presented Cross with the senior class gifts, a mosaic artwork for the school and an emerald ring for him.

Both graduation ceremonies were held at the Warner Grand Theatre.

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