There aren't many people who can say they've seen a blue eagle. But each year they flock to Los Alto High School's football field to the tune of the school band's rendition of "Pomp and Circumstance." On June 4, the Los Altos seniors -- in their blue gowns, leis and decorated caps -- graduated from high school.
The ceremony seemed a model of the quintessential high school graduation, with student speeches of growth and excitement for the future, proud teachers and administrators, and so many guests that they ran out of programs. The graduates, sitting on the bleachers and listening to their classmates, did not seem to mind the summer sun in their eyes.
Images of birds were referenced throughout the ceremony, particularly by David Ilishah and Sam Meckler, two graduates who delivered their speech together. They personified the birds on the LAHS campus, eliciting some laughs from the crowds.
"The birds seems to be saying, 'Spread your wings,'" their speech began. The boys then talked about their journey at Los Altos High, explaining the "scary and lonely transition" into high school, and how they "broke out of their cocoons." It was a refreshingly familiar tale that the audience seemed to identify with.
A large portion of the ceremony was devoted to recognizing the achievements of the class of 2010. The 22 students who earned a cumulative grade point average of 4.5 or higher were recognized by Principal Wynne Satterwhite. Students who earned at least a 4.0 for eight consecutive semesters were also honored.
"Los Altos is one of the toughest high schools academically, so this is a real achievement," Satterwhite said.
The Eagle Award, an LAHS honor for scholarship, citizenship and leadership, was presented to four students by Satterwhite. The winners were Sarah Loebner, Anjali Mehta, Eric Safai and Scott Stephens. Satterwhite said that these are four students who are community service-oriented and involved in almost every aspect of campus life.
The ceremony also featured performances by the Main Street Singers, who sang "What a Wonderful World" and "Not to Say Goodbye." The LAHS band and orchestra performed "America the Beautiful" in addition to the processional music.
The 373 graduates received their diplomas to claps, cheers and chanting from their classmates. They seemed ready to take on whatever the future has in store for them.
"Are those the same birds that were here four years ago?" Ilishah and Meckler said, pointing off across the field as they concluded their speech. "They look different now. They look soâ€¦graduated."