"I switched schools a lot and it was hard getting oriented. But I did
This moment allowed Amber Caserio a chance to look back and see how
much high school and the events of Sept. 11 changed her.
"I realized that the things that seemed so huge were real petty," she
said. "It was a shock to me how much I took for granted."
As she looks forward to attending Brigham Young University in the
fall, Amber promised herself to approach the new chapter in her life with
"I take everything from life, learn from it and apply it to life," she
A ripple went through the line when it was time to march into the bowl
for the big moment. Whistles pierced eardrums and somehow the band's
performance of "Ode to Joy" managed to be heard over roar of voices.
The band began "Pomp and Circumstance" as the graduates marched under
the flowered arches, which have been used since the 1930s. Parents who
weren't snapping away pictures or recording the moment on video wiped at
After everyone took their seats, senior class Presidents Dane Flueger
and Jessica Levin took the podium.
"We finally made it," Jessica shouted. "This is our night!"
An inflated beach ball bounced over the graduates after Jennifer
Kucera sang the National Anthem. The ball was confiscated and put away so
that Jocelyn Blore could deliver her valedictorian address.
"I'm thankful to be here," she said after reciting a fable about the
power of positive attitudes. "What is a shattered life to one is a
stubbed toe to another."
She encouraged her fellow graduates to never lose hope and to make the
best of the rest of their lives.
After Mike McGuire made his remarks and Theresa Daem presented the
class to the Board of Trustees of the Laguna Beach Unified School
District, the graduates stood up to receive their diplomas.
As each student walked up to the dais, baby pictures were projected on
the stage screen.
Jose Albarron got visibly nervous as his turn approached.
"If I could talk to the younger kids, I'd tell them to not look back
on their mistakes but to focus on the future," he said.