More than 30 Azusa High School graduates, many sporting their college sweatshirts, spread across campus during the school’s 10th annual Graduate Panel to advise students on how to tap high school resources, choose a college major and navigate academic and career paths.

“I am proud to see our former students come back every year to help current students navigate through their futures,” Azusa Unified Superintendent Dr. Linda Kaminski said. “Our returning alumni are an example of how influential their experience was at Azusa Unified in their college and professional careers and how our District fosters a strong community connection.”

The Aztec alumni, graduates spanning 2004 to 2015, came from institutions such as UCLA, Cal Poly Pomona and San Diego State and represented majors from structural engineering to medicine.

“It’s always exciting to see our graduates share their success and knowledge with current students,” Azusa High School Principal Dr. Ramiro Rubalcaba said. “This gives a wider perspective for our students to see what they can achieve and gives them exposure to the different paths they can take for their future.”

Groups of graduates moved through ninth- to 12-grade classrooms to discuss their journeys after high school. Students had the opportunity to ask questions, anywhere from “What surprised you when you got to college?” to “What do you wish you would have known before getting to college?”

“The students can start to really think about what they’re prepared and not prepared for when they leave high school,” said Lanette Baumann, College and Career Center Coordinator. “This gives our students an opportunity to see similarities between themselves and the graduates, and that they can be successful with whatever plan they have and make it through.”

Baumann launched the panel 10 years ago when she invited four alumni to speak with students. The panel quickly swelled as more and more graduates wanted to come back and impart advice.

“Every year, our students have access to a strong alumni network and have the opportunity to find mentors who could help develop their futures,” Board of Education President Yolanda Rodriguez-Peña said. “The Graduate Panel gives valuable insight to our students and will help them make important decisions in the coming years.”


GRADUATEPANEL: Azusa High School alumni share their college and professional experiences and offer advice to students as part of the high school’s 10th annual Graduate Panel in December.