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Marina High School:

Thomas Barbish

June 11, 2009

Thomas Barbish

When Thomas Barbish started high school, he enjoyed skateboarding much more than studying. Ironically, though, it was his love of skateboarding that ended up making him a better student.

When a friend recommended that he join the school’s industrial technology program, he gladly signed up — mostly because he wanted to build rails on which to perform skateboarding tricks.

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Once in the shop class, Thomas, 18, got hooked. By the end of his senior year, he still preferred welding to his other subjects, but he had pushed himself enough academically to have a new goal: to be the first member of his immediate family to graduate from college. This fall, he plans to enroll in Orange Coast College.

Graduation was poignant to Thomas for another reason; his father, whom he calls “his best friend,” passed away when he was a sophomore.

“All the stuff that I’ve been doing, staying out of trouble, he’d be so proud,” Thomas said. “So I’m proud of myself. I’m proud for him.”

— Michael Miller


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