Grace Christian Academy returned to the traditional graduation ceremony last Friday, honoring the 20 graduates of the Class of 2021 at the GCA Auditorium.
Elijah Joshua Pajarillaga led the Class of 2021 graduates as he was named valedictorian, while Na Lee and Julie Quan were the co-salutatorians of the group. Third honor Anna Camille Nunez, fourth honor Erin Park, and fifth honor Aika Watanabe rounded out the graduating class’ honor roll.
Completing GCA’s Class of 2021 graduates are Sebastian Camacho, Justin Del Rosario, Jasmin Frink, Tae Won Go, Gayeon Kim, William Kim, Claire Angela Marzan, Eugene Park, Ji Seung Park, Yehwan Rhyoo, Jeongmin Seo, Devan Yamagishi, and Jun You. Julie Harriso is the class adviser.
In his valedictory address, Pajarillaga commended his fellow graduates not only for achieving a milestone, but also for showing resilience and strength and standing their ground when things got tough. The Wesleyan University-bound Pajarillaga noted how the Class of 2021 lived through two super typhoons and the COVID-19 pandemic, which made their last two years in high school more challenging as they had to do online classes and observed safety precautions. Pajarillaga thanked everyone who helped them through these hurdles so they could reach their goals.
“The achievements don’t matter nearly as much as the people standing beside you as you succeed. The diploma, the certificates, the awards, the letters—all of it matters less in comparison to the people who have made such an accomplishment possible. So, to those of you that make life possible, you add moments, meaning, life, love, community, companionship, and so much more to our stories. So, thank you,” Pajarillaga said.
GCA handed out three new awards in last weekend’s graduation ceremony, which marked the return of the traditional rites for seniors after the Eagles implemented a drive-thru ceremony last year due to the pandemic. Lee was awarded the Outstanding Female Graduate plaque courtesy of the Office of the Women’s Affairs Office under the Office of the Governor, while Pajarilla and GCA National Honor Society vice president Marzan took the Governor and Lt. Governor’s Leadership awards, respectively. Two other major awards were presented, with Nunez named as Eagle Awardee and Mariella Dilse winning the Eagle Runner-Up, while GCA also handed out numerous academic, athletic, and distinguished Christian student awards.