For PTSA Leader, SMHS Commencement Brings a Finality

Emily Boutin will soon pick up her diploma from San Marino High School, following in the footsteps of her mother, Ann, a member of the class of 1979.
Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK
Emily Boutin will soon pick up her diploma from San Marino High School, following in the footsteps of her mother, Ann, a member of the class of 1979.

For Ann Boutin, the impending graduation of daughter Emily represents a full-circle journey 40 years in the making.
Boutin, this year’s San Marino High School PTSA president, was in her daughter’s shoes four decades ago, approaching graduation along with the rest of SMHS’ class of 1979. At the helm of PTSA, she now gets to watch her fourth and youngest child walk the stage this year.
“I think I’ve been at the high school way more than four years,” quipped Emily Boutin, who was preceded at SMHS by two older siblings; the eldest attended a private school. “I feel like I’m ending it on a good note.”
Ann Boutin, who went on to study home economics at UC Davis after graduating from SMHS before earning her law degree from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in 1987, returned to the area and lived briefly in Pasadena, where she practiced estate law. After marrying, she and her husband moved to their current home in San Marino to start their family, at which point Boutin put work aside to be a full-time mom.
“I retired after that, and I don’t think I’ll go back to doing that,” she said.
Returning home meant Boutin could bring her own children the same small-town experience she had, even in the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles. Their situation wasn’t unique: She was one of many SMHS graduates who stuck around to raise their own families here, furthering that small-town feel.
“It’s nice because I’m one of five,” Boutin said. “My sister is here in town. My mom is still in town. You’re able to maintain [the feel of San Marino] because there’s so much history here. There are so many people still here that you can get back to the old days.”
“A large chunk of our class is the last siblings, and a lot of parents grew up here,” added Emily Boutin. “[As freshmen] our grade was very connected with the upperclassmen, because of our older siblings.”
“They were all born with friends,” her mother observed.
The clearest example of this might be the class tiles on the SMHS campus, on which all of the members of graduating classes are named, going back decades.
“A lot of our parents are on it,” Emily Boutin said. “We can find a lot of people we know from way back.”
“It’s like a scavenger hunt,” Ann Boutin added.
She also is working on this year’s Grad Night celebration, and has contributed to the annual event’s production for some time now. In another family connection, Ann’s mother, Rary Simmons, was a Grad Night chair in 1974.
“I had no idea what went into it,” Boutin said on first volunteering. “It’s pretty pheno-menal what these parents put into it. It’s been fun to watch them through the years, to see the different themes and to see how the community engages with it. It’s a testament to the small-town feel that we still have here.
Yet another parallel exists in sports. Boutin was responsible for bringing a girl’s track team to SMHS in her day, and Emily brought back the Powderpuff Football event this year and spent four years playing soccer, three competing in volleyball and two in softball.
With the final graduation coming up, Ann said amid all of the changes to SMHS since her graduation, there was one favorite part that remains to this day, one to which she is looking forward.
“Sitting in the stadium, looking up at the mountains,” she said. “That hasn’t changed.”

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