High School Graduation
Long Beach High School’s 98th annual commencement ceremony brought a joyous culmination to a year like no other. The Class of 2021, district leaders, teachers and students’ proud family members were delighted to be together to witness and celebrate this milestone.
The graduation band played “Pomp and Circumstance” as seniors entered in their blue caps and gowns, and the graduation choir and band performed the National Anthem.
Speakers reflected on the students’ resilience and perseverance throughout circumstances they have faced. Principal Jeffrey Myers praised the graduates and those who have supported them, and Board of Education Trustee Anne Conway and Assistant Superintendent Michele Natali each addressed the class as both district officials and parents of seniors. Board of Education Vice President Dr. Dennis Ryan expressed appreciation to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jennifer Gallagher for her leadership throughout the pandemic.
“Throughout this unusual year, you’ve shown your strength in many ways,” Mr. Myers said. “You grew a little with each experience, by even the smallest changes and by each difficulty.”
“You know how to consciously decide how to achieve,” Ms. Conway said. ”Continue to use your voice to advocate for yourself and others, and never stop learning.”
“Whether your next move is a career, trade, college or the service, I know that you will flourish within your chosen endeavor,” Dr. Natali said. “I know this because of all that we have been through together.”
Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a graduate of the Long Beach Public Schools, was a special guest at the ceremony. He shared the poem, “Anyway,” by Mother Teresa and encouraged the students in their next chapters.
Salutatorian Maya Arengo discussed the future and choices that impact it.
“There is still so much we have yet to experience,” Maya said. “There is still much of the world we have yet to see and many incredible people we have yet to meet. My advice to you would be to explore as much as you can. We should step outside of our comfort zones and experiment with different career paths, friend groups and hobbies.”
Valedictorian Uma Arengo analyzed life lessons and shared her aspirations for the future.
“As I become an adult, I will strive to live by the principles I learned as a child, in hopes that everything else in life – success, contentment, happiness and peace – will follow,” Uma said. “I will try to be a lifelong student continuously following the lessons I learned. Everyone is welcome to join me.”
“This is the end of an era,” Senior Class President Chloe Casey said. “As we enter the next chapter of our lives, we have the whole world ahead of us. Some may be continuing their education at universities, starting their careers or joining the Armed Forces. We are ready to conquer anything the world throws at us.”
The highly anticipated presentation of diplomas followed, and each graduate was called up to signify the completion of a long journey. This moment was doubly meaningful for Anthony Adames, who received a surprise when his brother, United States Marine Xavier Adames, appeared on stage to hand him a diploma.
Student Organization President Brooke Roth addressed her classmates and presented a poem. She led the turning their tassels from right to left, and the graduates rejoiced, tossing their caps upward into limitless skies.