IMPERIAL – Marking the end of their high school journey, the seniors of Imperial gathered Friday at Shimamoto- Simpson Stadium. With raised emotions, the class of 2017 crossed the stage to receive their diplomas, signifying the start of the next chapter of their lives.
Car horns from canal bank spectators added to the stadium excitement, as parents and loved ones escorted the 271 senior studentsÂ onto the field.
â€œThroughout life, you will go through a lot of challenges, but it is important for all of you graduates to remember, that you are Tigers and you will be able to overcome the challenges life throws at you,â€ said Principal Joe Apodaca.
Following the opening remarks by Apodaca, Imperial’s foreign exchange students took to the stage in a ceremony to exchange flags from their home countries with a classmate, symbolizing the bonds beyond borders made throughout the year. Â Anthony Arnoult, Rita Barros, Aurora Baratto, and Tania Greve were the senior foreign exchange students graduating.
The stadium grew quiet as seniors joined their fellow choirÂ members on stage for one last performance, singing, â€œIâ€™ll always Remember You.â€ Â Choir teacher George Scott directed hisÂ seniors for the final time.
As the performance ended, Salutatorian Leonardo Aranza took to the podium and spoke to his fellow classmates.
â€œIt has been a long journey and Iâ€™m glad to have shared it with all of you,â€ says Aranza, â€œI also want to wish everyone the best of luck on their new journeys.â€
Valedictorian Tae Hyung Kim, followedÂ Aranza, with the graduates and audience welcoming her with heartwarming applause.Â Hyung thanked her family for making all of her accomplished possible,Â ending with wishing her class luck also as she left the podium for her seat.
Principal Apodaca culminated the evening’s excitement by presenting the Class of 2017 with their diplomas.
As the last students crossed the stage to receive their diplomas, the stadium enjoyed the spectacular firework show and reflected on the memories made and the futures ones yet to be enjoyed by the graduating Imperial class of 2017.