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Santa Barbara High School Honors Its Class of 2010

Acknowledging divisions over immigration, the graduating Dons unite in celebration

After stunning choral renditions of the national anthem and “America the Beautiful,” Santa Barbara High School’s class of 2010 took to the field Thursday evening for this year’s commencement ceremony.

Peabody Stadium was packed with family, friends and students, including more than 500 graduating Dons bedecked in the school’s white and green commencement regalia. A good number of alumni — asked to stand up and be recognized — also were in attendance, including a Korean War veteran.

Graduating seniors were addressed by classmates Elly Iverson and Kim Corral, as well as 2010 senior class president Brian Joseff. Speakers noted that although many challenges were faced during many students’ high school careers, a remarkable community exists among Dons.

Touching briefly on this year’s immigration-related contention, Iverson said that at the high school level, the problem has been a constant struggle for many of her peers.

A Korean War veteran was among the Santa Barbara High School alumni who attended Thursday's commencement ceremony
A Korean War veteran was among the Santa Barbara High School alumni who attended Thursday’s graduation. (Ben Preston / Noozhawk photo)

“Students sitting here have had to deal with [immigration issues] every day,” she said, adding that although undocumented students faced the challenges inherent in their status as noncitizens, many seized the opportunities offered by a public school education and were able to hold their heads high on graduation day.

“I have no illusions about the divisions within our class and our community, but we’ve all been able to come together as human beings, too,” Joseff said, adding that during sporting events and during graduation, Dons have displayed an impressive cohesiveness despite their differences.

He said that although he initially had equated his graduation from high school with a hypothetical release from prison, a chat with a fellow classmate whose father was coming to the ceremony after actually being released from prison prompted him to change his mind-set to a more positive one. “Have the right mind-set,” he advised classmates.

In a bilingual Spanish-English address, Corral gave perhaps the most poignant advice of all to her classmates and to those in the audience: “The future is not something that happens; it’s something we create.”

Noozhawk staff writer Ben Preston can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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