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A sea of green grads

• Nearly 600 students graduate at ceremony

Posted: June 4, 2008 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 5, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Kelly Ames, 18, shows his diploma to his family and friends at Canyon High School's Tuesday night graduation ceremony at Cougar Stadium at College of the Canyons.

 

The green and gold graduating class of 2008 marked the 40th anniversary of Canyon High School's opening last night as close to 600 students graduated Tuesday night.

As the sun set behind wisps of clouds behind the football stands at College of the Canyons, hundreds of relatives of graduating students filled the stands on both sides of the stadium.

The high school band played "Under The Sea" and "Love Shack" before it kicked in with the familiar "Pomp & Circumstance" to usher in the graduates.

Everyone, old and young, stood up as the graduates entered the football field from the south side, walking to the music in pairs.

Preceding them were the more than 70 faculty members wearing black robes and flat black mortarboard hats.

The graduates wore green gowns with green mortarboards, yellow sashes and yellow tassels.

They walked onto the field at mid-field and took their seats in front of a banner hung from the south side uprights that read: "Canyon High School, Making a Difference."

As the graduates filed by their friends and family some turned and flashed teeth and the "horn sign" with their index and pinkie fingers.

Before the speeches, there was, of course, the requisite beach ball bounced over the seated mortarboard hats.

Principal Bob Messina introduced three speakers who were all received with yelps and wild cheering.

Valedictorian Bryce De Figueiredo put four years of learning in perspective by reminding graduates that less than 3 percent of the world's young people grow up in the United States.

"For the past 13 years we have had access to one of the best educational systems in the world," he said. "We have something unique. We each have the potential to be great."

After he spoke, Eileen Torres spoke.

"This evening is all about our achievement," she told the crowd. "While tomorrow will be daunting, we shared an extraordinary moment in our lives together.

"Don't ever settle for anything less than greatness."

The senior speech, and the last of the selected students to speak, was given by Nerida Peever.

She asked graduates to remember how intimidating the first day of freshman year was to them and then compared that feeling with being suddenly freshmen introduced to the world.

"As we once again get to become the freshman and begin the construction that starts all over again," she said.

Canyon High School, on Nadal Street in Canyon Country, first opened its doors to students in 1968.

Many Canyon alumni have made headlines over the years including former Oakland Athletics pitcher Erik Hiljus (who also pitched for the Detroit Tigers) and USA Softball team player Crystl Bustos who won an Olympic gold medal in 2004 at the Olympic Games in Athens, having hit .346 with five home runs and 10 RBIs and a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, in 2000 with 10 hits and three home runs.

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