Wearing their purple and gold school colors, the Columbia High School Class of 2014 was urged to overcome life's challenges, to have an "I can try it attitude," and to strive toward their goals.
Principal Kyle Miller commended the class of 55 Burbank students Friday for their hard work, saying that "not one single student had been turned away from a diploma due to state standardized testing. That's something few schools can say."
The class boasted 19 seniors who were in the National Honor Society and 20 who earned scholarships totaling $416,326.
"And those are only the ones I know about," said Ardith Eakin, student services coordinator for the high school.
Salutatorian Cesar Castaneda reminded his classmates that "each one of us influences everyone we meet. It's our obligation to keep working hard in life ... to be an example to those behind us."
Fellow graduate Nathan White talked about how life throws challenges and struggles at everyone and how they leave their mark as they are overcome.
"They grow in intensity as we grow up ... but we need to draw strength from them," he said.
The future of the world is coming from this generation was the theme of valedictorian Wesley Bolliger's speech.
"I hear more and more complaints about our generation, our violence, but it's my opinion — and yes I'm only 18 — but pessimism is wrong," he said.
"We need to use our aggression, channel it, and keep going. When life has you in a choke hold, kick it in the shins as hard as you can," he said.