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Hart holds 60th commencement

Posted: June 5, 2008 1:47 a.m.
Updated: August 6, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Jose Arello, 1, kicks a beach ball during the Hart High School graduation, Wednesday evening at COC Cougar Stadium.

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With the largest Hispanic population of all the high schools in the Santa Clarita Valley, Hart High School welcomed guests to its 60th commencement ceremony with a greeting in English and another in Spanish on Wednesday evening at College of the Canyons.

In the parking lot before the ceremony, parents adjusted graduates' caps, presented them with leis and took photos.

After posing for pictures with his family, Hart graduate Lionel Carrillo Jr. said he was "excited to the extreme."

"My senior year was great - I had fun, but I'm glad to be graduating," Lionel said.

His dad, Lionel Carrillo Sr., said that, while it seemed like just yesterday his oldest child was just a baby, he's very proud that his son is graduating. "He's had a lot of ups and downs, but he made it," Carrillo said.

Senior Katie Lukk said that it hadn't really sunk in yet that she was graduating.

"I can't believe we're done. It will probably hit me when we get our diplomas and everything," Katie said. "It's like tonight is our last night to all be together, so it's kind of happy and sad at the same time."

With the girls in red gowns and the guys wearing black, the graduates entered from both sides of the Cougar football field, providing parents seated on the correct side of the stadium with an excellent view of their graduate as the Hart seniors marched by waving and giving two thumbs up to loved ones in the stands.

The first beach ball made its appearance just as the last graduate was seated. It would not be the last.

"After four quick years at Hart High School, you are ready to write a new chapter in your lives," Principal Collyn Nielsen told the 536 graduates before introducing the two senior class speakers.

The first speaker, Michael Ewart, recalled how supportive his classmates had been when he was critically injured in a home fire two years ago. Not only did Hart students send cards and flowers, but they sent photos to replace those that were lost and they donated blood that helped not just the Ewart family, but the entire community.

"It was during this time that I realized how special our school really is," Michael said. "We truly do have ‘Hart.'"

Student speaker Audrey Olson reminisced about the installation of the Peace Pole on campus, and the proud moment when senior Johnny MacArthur kicked a field goal with .5 seconds left in the game to defeat Canyon High at football.

"Despite our future absence, the memory of our class will live on forever," Audrey said. "Never forget our own sweet Hart. Congratulations, class of 2008, life has never tasted so sweet."

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