EL MONTE – Hundreds of graduating seniors from El Monte Union’s comprehensive high schools celebrated their university-bound commitments in front of cheering crowds of underclassmen, teachers and administrators during District-wide College Signing Day ceremonies taking place April 26-May 3.

Mountain View, South El Monte, El Monte, Rosemead and Arroyo high schools hosted individual events to celebrate seniors achieving their academic pursuits and to showcase the college-going culture each campus has cultivated to inspire and prepare students to follow their educational and professional goals.

“It feels really special to be recognized, and it’s nice to see everyone together celebrating and happy,” said Mountain View High senior Matthew Acuna, who will attend California State University, Los Angeles in the fall. “It’s so good to know that all my hard work has paid off.”

For Mountain View’s inaugural College Signing ceremony, more than 70 seniors were recognized for their post-secondary plans, with students receiving “#accepted” T-shirts and signing a Class of 2018 banner with their name and the university they will attend. Vista Academy students also took individual portraits of the seniors and filmed testimonials of celebration and gratitude for the teachers who helped them succeed.

“Our graduating Class of 2018 is incredible,” said Dr. Amy Avina, principal of South El Monte High School, which captured students’ excitement for college with photos and a plethora of college banners. “Our seniors are serving as an inspiration to our younger students, letting them know that they too can achieve any goal they set their minds on.”

El Monte High School recognized more than 180 seniors during its third annual College Signing event, which included a catered lunch for students, who signed symbolic letters of intent to attend such universities as Stanford, Georgetown and UCLA.

“We are so proud of our graduating seniors for making it to this point in their educations and we want to recognize each one of them for all that they have accomplished thus far,” El Monte High College and Career Coordinator Wyatt Bernthal said.

Rosemead High School kicked off its second annual College Acceptance event with Principal Dr. Brian Bristol addressing an auditorium of more than 170 seniors. As guest speakers delivered speeches of hope and perseverance, a slideshow played of students holding T-shirts with the word “Accepted” and a list of the universities they were accepted to – with some Class of 2018 grads boasting as many as 10 college acceptances.

Seniors enjoyed a picnic lunch and participated in activity stations, including interactive games, a photo booth and a thank-you stand where students could write messages to their favorite teachers.

“Having the recognition that we are moving on to college and being celebrated for it is really nice, and I’m glad we can take the opportunity to thank the teachers who got us here,” said Rosemead High School senior Vivian Macias, who will study forensic psychology at UC Davis.

Seniors from Arroyo High School toasted to their post-secondary plans during the first “Knights Charging Forward” event, during which students completed intent cards shaped like a knight’s helmet, took photos, were given “AHS College Bound” T-shirts and enjoyed complimentary sweets from the dessert bar.

“I am so proud of all our students who are committed to taking this next big step in life,” Arroyo High School Principal Angelita Gonzales-Hernandez said. “This event is the perfect way to celebrate them before they head off and forge their own paths.”

Students will continue the celebration with commencement ceremonies taking place May 31.

“These events highlight the fantastic accomplishments of our students and celebrate them for how hard they have worked to reach this milestone,” El Monte Union High School District Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga said. “Every student is capable and deserves the opportunity to attend college, and our teachers and staff work diligently to prepare them for a future of success.”


051118_EMUHSD_COLLEGE1: South El Monte High School seniors celebrate their post-secondary plans during an Acceptance Day ceremony on May 2.

051118_EMUHSD_COLLEGE2: Arroyo High School students receive “AHS College Bound” T-shirts during the inaugural “Knights Charging Forward” celebration on May 3.

051118_EMUHSD_COLLEGE3: Rosemead High seniors wear “Accepted” T-shirts to commemorate their decisions to commit to the college or university of their choice on April 26.

051118_EMUHSD_COLLEGE4: Mountain View High Assistant Principals Allende Palma-Saracho addresses seniors as they celebrate their college choices on April 27.

051118_EMUHSD_COLLEGE5: El Monte High School students sign a letter of intent to the college of their choice during a College Signing Day celebration on April 27.