It seemed a little ironic: Sterling's Park View High School, the only Loudoun County school that held indoor graduation ceremonies this year, was the one that invited a meteorologist to be its commencement speaker.
But maybe Bob Ryan's presence at Park View brought good luck to the rest of the county. Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, Broad Run High School in Ashburn, and Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville all held outdoor ceremonies under a perfect blue sky Saturday night.
And Ryan, meteorologist at WRC-TV (Channel 4), wowed the crowd in Park View's main gymnasium, where 287 graduates walked proudly across the stage to receive their diplomas.
Ryan spoke for 10 minutes about "imagination, science, and don't be afraid to make mistakes," said principal Kenneth Culbert.
"He talked directly to the kids," said Dianne Mero, the school system's assistant superintendent for public instruction. "They really appreciated it."
On the other end of the county, William K. Reilly, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, addressed the 215 new graduates of Loudoun Valley High School.
School system spokeswoman Molly Converse, who attended the event to watch her niece graduate, said that Reilly, as expected, spoke of the need to protect the environment.
"But he also personalized it a bit," Converse said. Reilly noted that the county's science fair winner was a Loudoun Valley student and that the school has just started a new environmental club.
At Broad Run High School, Loudoun Times-Mirror executive editor Elizabeth Colton addressed the 206 graduates. And at Loudoun County High School, the 230 graduates heard from Del. Linda Rollins (R-Loudoun).
The Broad Run ceremony began with a procession in which faculty, in caps and gowns, marched in with their students.
"People said it was very elegant," Mero said.