EDITED to add the names of the other “Top 2 Percent Valedictorian Scholars.”
By Sarah Light
It was a beautiful, sunny day at Corona del Mar High School as the school celebrated its 49th graduating class.
CIF track-star Karléh Wilson opened with the National anthem, followed by Alison Wexler singing the high school’s Alma Mater. Associated Student Body President Sarah Hostetler welcomed the audience and introduced Samantha Payne, who is the advisor of the school’s Performing Arts and Multimedia Academy (known as PAMA). In her speech congratulating PAMA’s second graduating class, Payne quoted Oscar Wilde: “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”
Corona del Mar’s valedictorian of 2012 was Matt Francini, who graduated in the top 2 percent of his class. In his speech, Matt congratulated the 10 sports teams that made it to CIF Finals in 2012 and quoted the rapper Drake in reminding his classmates, “You Only Live Once – YOLO.”
Principal Tim Bryan closed his speech by expanding upon Drake’s catchphrase; he stated, “Another aspect of ‘YOLO’ is that you only have one opportunity to make a difference.”
Other Top 2 Percent Valedictorian Scholars were Philip Brower, Nick Roy, Jack Gorab, Afaf Moustafa,
Nica Sabouni and Benjamin Zephel.
After diplomas were awarded, Connor Shambrook, of the local band Foley performed an original piece. Shambrook told his classmates the song “is about how we may be going off to college in a different state or just away from home, but no matter where we go, this place will always feel like home.”
Senior Class President Annabel Pidgeon presented the class of 2012’s gift to the school: funds to reconstruct the Special Education patio and garden. The reconstruction will provide an area for the students to practice street safety and aims to make the space a more enjoyable one.
After Bryan’s presentation of the class of 2012, Karen Yelsey, clerk of the Newport Mesa Unified School District Board of Education, accepted the eager graduates, who had already thrown their hats in the air before her acceptance. Also present from the Board of Education were Judy Franco, Dr. Charles Hinman, Susan Astarita, and Laura Boss.