The Class of 2000, as many of its members have been reminded since kindergarten, is the last class of the 20th century. It is also the first class in 100 years to have to wrestle with what to call itself. The classes of '99, '98, '97 and back on down the road had it simple: snag the last two digits of the year and they were set.
Nothing as simple as that for the Class of 2000 in the way of a short and sweet nickname: Is it the class of '00, or OhOh, or Ought-Ought, or OOps or--get outta here--the Zeros?
The bottom line: Call 'em what you want, just don't call 'em late for pizza!
In this section, of course, we call each of them by name.
All 29,287 of them.
Applaud Early, Often
Here it comes. The standard question asked of every graduate: What do you want to do now?
It looks as if the Class of 2000 has had a head start. There are many who accomplished a lot before they were handed their diploma.
Hear that pounding? Josef Tobiska of Santa Ana High built his school's competition drum line from scratch. He even found someone who gave $18,000 worth of percussion instruments. Josef's going to Occidental College to major in math and music.
Nicole Charney of Corona del Mar High has written and illustrated two children's books, the last one called "Wally the Whale." She nabbed a scholastic art and writing award, and is heading to UCLA.
Niraj H. Mehta of Troy High was crowned "Mr. India California." But before you think of him as just a pretty face, you should know that he has a black belt in karate and he's off to USC.
While most O.C. teens have made it as far as Riverside, others have gone where the 91 Freeway simply doesn't go. Among them is Falon Bahal of University High, who has already taken in the fiords of Norway, the deserts of the United Arab Emirates and the hills of New Zealand. So far, Falon has traveled to four of the seven continents. Her goal: to become a U.S. ambassador.
In this section, we have profiles of scores of students who'll make your head turn.
Courting the Lakers
Vanessa Laine, a senior at Marina High, was the center of attention--and envy--when it was announced last month that she and Laker superstar Kobe Bryant are engaged. "She's my star," Bryant, 21, said of Laine, 18.
There's plenty of stardust that surrounds the Lakers:
This from Patrick Salyer of Lutheran High, who's planning to go to Harvard: "I went to Milan, Italy, over spring break so I could see Kobe Bryant's hometown."
And, as if the rest of us never heard of Jack Nicholson, Joseph Bui of Garden Grove High proclaims: "I'm the biggest and most obnoxious Lakers fan! I never miss a game!"
Sometimes facts are facts. And you just have to confess that you've mastered a move that few others can do.
Kevin Shen of Brea Olinda High speaks English, Chinese and Japanese. So, we presume this is true in any language: "I can talk my way into or out of almost anything. . . "
Then, there's Jerry Lu of Huntington Beach High, who is valedictorian in a class of 525 and going to Stanford. His real talent: "I can quote every line of 'The Simpsons,' ever."
And, sure, Tam (Tom) Huu Phan of Santiago High is an award-winning artist, but that's only the half of it: "I am an irritating nuisance to my over-stressed art teacher, Mrs. [Diane] Acosta."
Who's Who Here?
Match the student with his or her claim to fame:
1) John Swigart
Newport Harbor High
2) Jessica Lynn Mahan
3) Yeon-Wha Hong
Villa Park High
4) Sean Anglado
La Habra High
A) My mentor for the Da Vinci program was an ER doctor. While I was watching an operation, I passed out and cut my head open. I then had to be sutured up by my mentor.
B) I met Nicholas Cage when I was 5 years old.
C) I once won a solid, 20-pound Hershey Kiss when KIIS-FM visited my school. Yum Yum. I felt like I won the lottery.
D) Granted dual membership at Costco and Sam's Club!
Answers: 1) A; 2) D; 3) C; 4) B
Put two plain ovals--00--on a page, give them to the Class of '00 and see where they take them. Christopher Davis of John F. Kennedy High, who'll be studying scenic background design at Cypress College, used his canvas to immortalize the '63 white VW bug he's converting into an off-road monster. And Jason Pi of Katella High, who'll be studying computer science at UC Irvine, went for a portrait of two guys with their hair gooed up into peaks: "If you were to see my friends and me, you'd recognize us in this drawing. We just thought, 'Hey, it's the year 2000. We're graduating. Let's spike our hair.' "
Throughout this yearbook, you'll see a gallery of drawings from high school students who took those 0s and filled in the blanks. Some of the drawings are complicated, sophisticated and thoughtful. Others are silly, nonsensical and just plain weird. You be the judge.
You say it was nada . . .
But we say thanks. This yearbook section wouldn't have happened without the help of hundreds of students and staff members at Orange County high schools.