After some introductions and a speech from LAHS school principal Wynne Satterwite, Vanessa Barajas took to the podium to encourage her fellow classmates not to try too hard to shed some of the qualities for which teenagers are best known.
Speaking to the 400 graduates, Barajas insisted that there is nothing wrong with being a little naive, brash or proud.
Though the three words are often associated with inexperience, recklessness and hubris, she sees things differently. "I choose to see naive as optimistic, brash as adventurous and proud as confident," Barajas said to her fellow graduates, encouraging her peers to see things her way.
"Naivete enables us to focus on the possibilities, rather than the worst-case scenarios," Barajas said. "When I say, 'be brash,' I mean be adventurous and follow your gut. Anything worth doing risks the possibility of failure."
And if and when members of the class of 2013 experience failure, pride will help get over that failure. "We must be confident in our decisions and live without regrets," she said.