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122 Graduate from St. Monica’s Last Week:

St. Monica High School’s Class of 2005 received diplomas, cheers and cookies last Thursday night in a graduation ceremony at Loyola Marymount University.

The boys, wearing green gowns, and the girls, in gold, were awarded their diplomas by the Rev. Msgr. Lloyd A. Torgerson, pastor of St. Monica’s parish, which operates the school, and outgoing Principal Tamara Martinez-Payne.

The new principal, longtime teacher and Vice Principal Thomas Gasper introduced the 122 graduating seniors.

The ceremonies began with the graduates marching across the basketball court in LMU’s Burns Recreation Center  to Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance.” 

Almost all of the members of the class of 2005 plan on going on to two and four-year colleges around the country.

Andrew Lennig was class salutatorian. He will study dentistry at Santa Clara University. Valedictorian honors – for the highest cumulative grade point average over four years – went to  Christina Yamada and Cina Tabatabaee, both of whom earned straight As and had 4.67 averages, which they bolstered with advance placement courses.

Yamada also received a National Merit Scholar Commendation and was co-winner of the Scholar Athlete Award. Her twin brother, Brian, is president of the Class of 2005.

Valedictorian Stet Tabatabaee urged his classmates to think, believe, dream and dare.  Valedictorian Yamada said only a person who is willing to take risks can be free.

Yamada, 18, lives in Westchester, attended West Lutheran Elementary, and will attend Scripps College for Women, where she will study liberal arts. Tabatabaee, 17, who lives in Santa Monica and attended St. Monica Elementary, will go to UC Berkley, where he plans to study mechanical and aerospace engineering.

St. Monica’s student body is 35 percent Caucasian, 13 percent African American, 33 percent Hispanic,11 percent Asian, 3 percent Filipino and 2 percent Alaskan Indian. Yamada is Asian and Tahatabace is Iranian. Neither is Catholic.Total enrollment at St. Monica High School is 600.

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