"Through Hardship to the Stars" Sums Up this Student’s Journey

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This story is part of a series of profiles the Ventura County Office of Education is presenting about outstanding graduating seniors in the Class of 2021.

GeorgePer Aspera Ad Astra is Latin for “through hardship to the stars,” and Fillmore High School senior George Mooradian says it’s an ideal description of his life.

George never knew his father, who left the family before he was born. Then, when he was eight years old, he lost his mom too when a severe asthma attack unexpectedly took her life. He was taken in by his aunt, who has raised him ever since. “We leaned on each other a lot,” he says. “It was obviously a very dark time for our family, and we helped each other through it as best as possible.”

It was his mom’s death that brought him to Fillmore, which he says was a welcome change from the busy corner of Los Angeles County where he had lived before. He thrived in the friendly, small-town environment and found plenty of support and opportunity at Fillmore High School.

class-of-2021George is an avid music lover who was in the school’s marching band, eventually taking on the leadership role of drum major. “I listen to music every day for hours because it’s just something really comforting to me,” he says. Music teacher Greg Godfrey became an important figure in his life. “He was always available to just talk about music and he really helped me get through these years,” he says.

For all four years of high school, George was on his school’s Mock Trial team. Coordinated by the Ventura County Office of Education, Mock Trial lets students portray the roles of lawyers and witnesses before real judges in actual courtrooms. “It really taught me to think on my feet and my public speaking improved by 100 percent,” he says. “You get all of the things you need that you don’t get in regular classes. That experience is something I wouldn’t trade for the world.”

George’s participation in Mock Trial has inspired him to pursue a career as an attorney. His dream is to work for the American Civil Liberties Attorney on equity and human rights issues. “I want to be fighting that fight. I want to be working to reform systems that have been holding down marginalized communities for so long,” he says. “I come from a place of immense privilege, and I want to do whatever I can to help the people that don't have that.”

George rounded out his high school resume by being on the swim team and water polo team. Even with all of his activities, he managed to earn the number one grade point average in his graduating class. This summer, he’ll be working as a lifeguard at the city pool before heading to UCLA, where he plans to major in political science. 


More Stories about the Ventura County Class of 2021

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