"This is what sets us apart from every other graduating class in America," Bohrer said.
Despite the sweltering heat and limited shade, hundreds of people crowded onto the Los Altos High School field bearing balloons, signs and air horns to see off the 471 graduating seniors on June 3. Principal Wynne Satterwhite said it would be easy to extol all the achievements and contributions of individual students, but as a whole the class of 2016 has shown "outstanding" scholarship and ambitious plans for the future.
Over the last four years, she said the students have always taken the initiative to do greater things outside of the classroom, from running student leadership groups and The Talon school newspaper to starting their own businesses and charitable foundations. The students have had a strong presence in the community, she said, and lead by example.
"They represent the kind of service through leadership that is at once modest and inspiring."
Graduating senior Evelyn Crisanto, in an emotional speech in both English and Spanish, said it felt like high school flew by, and it was only yesterday that they were all "foolish freshman" trying to figure out the new school environment. She said the students remained resilient, handling the highs and lows of high school in order to reach the "incredible milestone" of graduation.
"We fell, but we got back up," Crisanto said.
While some of the seniors will be heading off to college and others will be heading straight into the workforce, Crisanto encouraged her peers to stay strong in the face of adversity, and strive to go above and beyond.
"Don't just get by in life," she said. "We must challenge ourselves to reach our full potential. Keep moving forward and never look back."
Dozens of students leaving Los Altos this year were able to maintain high scores and near-perfect GPAs since freshman year, but still manage to side-step strictly academic accolades in favor of more colorful achievements. Senior William Alexander pointed out that students have won major sporting events across the state, and recently took home a championship in a poetry slam competition.
"Our peers haven't been content to just passively live their lives," Alexander said. "For the past four years they have worked hard with what they've been given."
Leaving high school, Bohrer said the graduating class will be heading out into the unknown, with a big question mark over what will come next in all of their lives. He said there's no easy answer — none that you can find on Google, anyway — on what to do, and that can be pretty scary.
"We're actually going to have to experience what lies ahead, and that's terrifying," he said. "But it's the fact that it's terrifying, that we're nervous ... that makes it so exciting,"
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