Close to a thousand high school seniors tossed their caps up to the evening sky as Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe high schools hosted commencement ceremonies on their home football fields Thursday.

Decked out in robes, honors cords and other marks of distinction, students sat in streamlined rows during the ceremony—some nervously fidgeting with their caps and others gazing out into the bleachers as they waited to be called up to the stage.

Principals Dr. Anna Battle, of Desert Vista, and Bruce Kipper, of Mountain Pointe, each addressed their graduating senior class just miles away from each other while wind ensembles and senior choirs performed and class valedictorians encouraged their fellow classmates.

"Senior class of 2013, whether you’ve never seen me before in your life, or you’ve had to see me every year, you’ve helped make Desert Vista into what it is today," said Jenny Chen, one of Desert Vista's six valedictorians. "And as we disperse across the country and the world, I know that I’ll be impacted by the hard work and effort of this graduating class."

Desert Vista's valedictorians also included Annie Dai, Ryan Smith, Jonathan Gauthier, Suhitha Veeravelli and Connor Thunshelle.

As every speaker made it a point to thank their friends, family, staff and community for helping them thus far, Mountain Pointe's only valedictorian, Swaroon Sridhar offered up a piece of advice to his senior class about their road ahead: stay genuine.

"It's about being genuine in all that you do, then both success and happiness will eventually find its way to you," said Sridhar.

Recognizing all of his teachers that are headed for retirement this year, Kipper also mentioned students who made lasting impressions on their teachers. For Ian Moses, athletic director who will be changing schools next year, a loud cheer from the crowd ensued as he walked in during the precession.

Back at Desert Vista, the graduating class dispersed out onto the field as the ceremony ended with fireworks, while the crowd began trickling out of the stadium's stands.

Josh Arredondo, on his way to find his friends and family, said he felt more than happy to be done with this chapter.

"I feel accomplished, it’s just the beginning of my future."

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or Follow her on Twitter @dmartinezAFN.

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