Malibu High School 2022 graduating class ‘Destined for greatness’

SMMUSD Board Member Craig Foster hands out diplomas to Malibu High School students during this years graduation ceremony. Photo by Samantha Bravo.

Tassels were moved and caps were thrown for the Malibu High School graduating Class of 2022. One hundred and seventeen students walked on the athletic field for the final time on Wednesday, June 8, and accepted their diplomas. The school’s 27th class only spent one full year of their high school careers on campus due to the Woolsey fire in 2018 and the covid-19 pandemic.

“For those of you who had a hard time getting here today after a challenging, distributive and even scary last four years, congratulations — you did it, you’re here,” Malibu High School Principal Patrick Miller said. “Despite the missed time on campus, I know they leave here having learned about a lot of things, leave here better people and continue to represent Malibu.”

Those in attendance were Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Board of Education and the City of Malibu leaders such as Mayor Paul Grisanti, councilmembers Karen Farrer and Mikke Pierson, and City Manager Steve McClary. 

Speeches filled with memories and wisdom were shared from ASB President Linda Morazon and Lolitta Reynlib. 

Students Noah Redclay and Justin Higgingbotham gave memorable speeches that left the crowd laughing and smiling.

“The path to each and every one of our successes is different. There is no paved plan; instead, an infinite ocean,” Redclay said. “But don’t fear this unknown, embrace it. Life is whatever you want to make it. With drive, ambition, love, and passion, no mountain is too high.”

Guests enjoyed speeches from seniors, and performances by the Malibu High School graduating seniors, orchestra, and band. This year’s senior song was “Lovely Day” by Will Withers. Seniors Cameron Nino Nwede and Aiden Burke performed the orchestra version of “In My Bag,” a song written, produced and released by Nwede in 2020. 

Many graduating students attended Malibu Middle School, which made the transition to high school much easier, but students such as Nicole Reynaga were worried about fitting in.

“Not having attended Malibu Middle School, I already felt as if I was at disadvantage; however, my first few months at Malibu High challenged all my previously conceived notions of what high school would be,” Reynaga said. “From the beginning of my freshman year, I received nothing but acceptance and support. I received waves and smiles from peers during passing periods and compassion from all my teachers.”

The Class of 2022 started freshman year in 2018. Many know that year as the most memorable year of the Woolsey fire, which burned through neighborhoods, stealing homes from hundreds of residents, including Reynaga’s. After that experience, Reynaga learned about the kindness and generosity she received from the community in response to the fire.

“My home, along with hundreds of others, ended up burning in the fire; in spite of this tragedy, our community ultimately came together,” Reynaga said. “The school has proven time and time again our shared strength and resilience.”

Reynaga thanked the faculty and her classmates for the years of memories and wished her classmates the best in their future endeavors.

“Wherever your journey takes you next, whether it be college, or a job or a gap year, I hope you’re able to recall your time here and are inspired to take a little piece of this amazing community we have built with you wherever you go,” Reynaga said. “Class of 2022, you are destined for greatness.”

After speeches and acknowledgments, students lined up to receive their diplomas. 

Students shook hands with SMMUSD board of directors such as Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati, and school board members Craig Foster and Keith Coleman. 

After each graduate received their diplomas, the anticipated moving of the tassel graduation tradition concluded the ceremony. Family and friends then joined the graduates in exchanging congratulatory.

On Friday, superintendent Drati released a press statement congratulating the graduating seniors and staff for their resilience, adaptability and persistence in returning to in-person course work after a year of virtual education. 

“We know for some that it may be challenging and a bit scary to leave your comfort zone; however, your family and friends, along with your teachers and your communities, are cheering for your success in your next chapter as your superintendent, I am incredibly proud of you. I look forward to hearing stories about your future endeavors and successes,” Drati said in the press release. “Whether you are going on to Santa Monica College, a four-year university, into a certificate program, or other postsecondary opportunity, we know the Class of 2022 will make a difference in the world. We need you to make that difference for the good of all. Stay strong and know that your time at SMMUSD has prepared you for a brighter future. We wish you all the best in health and success in your future.”