More than a thousand spectators filled the stands of Memorial Field Thursday night to cheer not for a game, but for John Burroughs High School students clearing the final hurdle.
As the 602 red-gowned members of the class of 2013 talked excitedly among themselves off-field, family and friends filed in with video cameras and flowers to see the graduation.
Minutes before the graduates were to march on to the field, Garrett Auproux, 18, waited on crutches for his classmates to pass by.
Auproux, who broke his lower leg in a tennis tournament in March, said he was most looking forward to graduation as a springboard to the next stage of life.
“What’s exciting is just going on to a new adventure,” he said.
Auproux, the two-time defending Pacific League singles champion, said he will be attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on a tennis scholarship in the fall.
Auproux’s attitude was echoed in student body President Steve Shin’s introduction speech, which highlighted the ability of his class to incorporate the ups and downs of high school into a spirit of adventure it can carry forward.
“It is our time, my time, as well as yours, to explore,” he said.
Fittingly for a school that has had episodes of the television musical “Glee” filmed in its hallways, the graduation was a musical affair, from Shin calling for some dramatic strings to underscore his speech to rousing performances by Powerhouse, the school’s award-winning choral group.
The school’s wind ensemble, vocal and instrumental music associations also performed.
Shin also highlighted the fact that the memories his classmates had formed would go forward with them on their different paths — a sentiment shared by graduating student Jazmin Bates.
Bates, who said she was planning to attend Pasadena City College, said the most exciting part of graduating was “being able to look back at the memories you made and what you’ve learned in high school, and applying it to your future — maybe learning from your mistakes.”
-- Daniel Siegal, firstname.lastname@example.org