More than 2,000 students received their diplomas this month from the seven Loudoun County high schools with a graduating class.
Broad Run High School
Future plans: 54 percent going to a four-year college or university. An additional 25 percent will be attending two-year institutions of higher learning.
Senior address: As is tradition at Broad Run, one senior was chosen by a faculty committee to give the address. Devin Kidner told her classmates that they had survived much, both personally and as citizens of the United States, and that this had taught them much.
Commencement speaker: 1982 Park View High School graduate Allen Pinkett, who went on to star as a running back for Notre Dame and the NFL's Houston Oilers. Pinkett's niece, Patrice Renee Pinkett, was among the graduates. "Every type of success that I have goes back to high school," Allen Pinkett said. "I had to remember that. When I got to the pros, I probably stole for two years, just making it by, and then I started to think 'Okay, what was it that I did in high school to be successful?' Then I became a real professional."
School Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III, a former English Department chairman and assistant principal at Broad Run: "This is always an interesting time for me, because I had the honor of being chosen to be part of the first faculty that opened Broad Run High School. When I see the maroon and gold out in front of me, it brings back memories of seven really good years in my professional life. . . . Broad Run High School is really a very special place and has been made more special by your being there."
Top 10 percent of the class academically: Andrew Abokhair, Christina Appleman, Giana Appleman, Laura Behrer, Zina Brown, Christina Casares, Brian Colleran, Kerry Cook, Lindsay Cook, Julie Gillem, Nathan Glenn, Christina Gray, Peter Hershey, Daniel Hunt, Jason Kaiser, Devin Kidner, Cheney King, Olivia Klopp, Amir Koupaei, Erin Leonhardt, Michael Loew, Maureen Lovett, Sarah Luhrs, Chloe McClimans, Lauren Myers, Michelle Nguyen, Kaj Nielsen, Melanie Ramirez-Carpio, Britany Raymond, Megan Riley, Kelly Rogers, Charles Schulz, Robyn Showers, Heather Tydings, Sidra Wali, Edda Wong and Elisabeth Wynne.
Valedictorians: Adeeb Aghdassi and Kshiti Shah.
Salutorian: Russell Korte.
$1,000 faculty scholarship: Awarded to the senior who best personified the spirit of Broad Run inside and outside the classroom; given to Matthew J. Kabat.
"We Move On": A song by graduating seniors Mike Yardley and Ian Thomas, with lyrics by classmate Sam Feemster, was performed by Yardley, Thomas, Feemster, Robin Leme and Luhrs.
Heritage High School
Graduates: 117, in school's first graduating class.
Future plans: Eighty percent will be going to two- and four-year colleges, three graduates will be entering the military, one will be going to the U.S. Naval Academy and eight will be entering the workforce.
Governor's Seal: Received by 21 students, which means they maintained a cumulative B average, received the advanced studies diploma and had taken at least one Advanced Placement course.
Valedictorians: Andrey Korsak and Claire Wilshire.
Salutatorian: Mallorie Williams.
Hatrick: "It has been clear to me since you [the students], your faculty, your principal and the community opened the doors to Heritage High School not even two years ago . . . from that very first moment it was clear to me that it was going to be a high school that was purpose-driven and intended to write new history in terms of excellence in education."
Speaker: Motivational speaker Brett Leake, who offered advice that was given to him at his college graduation by a religion professor: " 'Do what you love, and if you can make that your job, you'll never work a day in your life. Your vocation will be your avocation. While you'll still have problems, they'll become part of the flow, and yours will be the path with heart.' "
Loudoun County High School
Golden anniversary: This was the school's 50th anniversary, and students chose to have their graduation on the front lawn instead of at George Mason University's Patriot Center.
Principal Edward Starzenski: After 15 years at Loudoun County High, Starzenski is leaving to become the first principal of Briar Woods High School, which opens in 2005.
Valedictorian: William Angley III.
Salutatorian: Benjamin Fox.
Hatrick: "I have been involved with this school as a student, teacher, principal, parent, brother of a graduate, husband of a teacher during the past 46 years. . . . The building behind me is an excellent symbol for the students seated in front of me. Parts of this building remain constant. They are anchored in tradition and continuity even as the building itself changes to accommodate the world around it. The true history of this high school is in the people who have been part of it over the years. The thousands and thousands of students who have graduated from Loudoun County High School. The hundreds and hundreds of faculty and staff that have seen to the education of Loudoun County High School students over the years."
Honor roll: Eighteen students were honored for maintaining a grade-point average of 4.0 or higher: Angley, Fox, Jamie Coupar, Rebecca Funkhouser, Owen Basham, Joseph Corcoran, Molly Coyle, Adam Filion, Ryan Burkle, Lindsey MacQueen, Sarah Ozemko, Lisa Bethune, Mary Kearl, Sarah Cokeley, Samuel Parks, Daniel York, Grace Hanson and Shajayra Castro Chacon.
Loudoun County High School Hall of Fame: Established in 1962 to honor those who had achieved high academic honors at a national level. The three graduates inducted this year were Angley, Corcoran and Hanson.
Loudoun County High School Honor Award: Given annually to a student who, in the view of the entire faculty, is the most outstanding senior. The faculty bases its decision on the criteria of scholarship, achievement and character. This year's recipient was Stephane Kabesa.
Perfect attendance award: Armin Heremic.
Faculty scholarship fund: Every faculty member has a voice in the selection process. Scholarships of $1,500 each went to Celeste Cummings and Funkhouser.
Future plans: Of the 221 graduates, 197 will be continuing their education at a two- or four-year institution of higher learning, and collectively they will receive almost $680,000 in scholarships and grants.
The Loudoun County High School Band: Played "Loudoun Praises," commissioned for the 50th anniversary celebration and written by Brian Blamages.
Loudoun Valley High School
Graduates: A record 360. Assistant Principal Vicki Dorsey Holstead noted that, with Loudoun's growth headed westward, this record would not stand long.
Grade-point averages: 161 graduates had a grade-point average above 3.0, and 36 had a GPA of 3.75 or higher.
Principal Jerry Black: Said the Class of 2004 would have a special place in his heart because it was his first graduating class as principal. "I've had many opportunities this year to honor their achievements, both in academics and extracurricular activities. . . . I would like to thank this class again for all the support and inspiration that you have given me during this school year."
Speaker: John E. McLaughlin, deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. "Some events, like your graduation, are predictable -- at least I hope it was predictable. Others come as a surprise -- good or bad. Some touch you only as an individual. Others touch you as part of a larger community: a school, a town, a nation -- even the whole of humanity itself. They are the moments you never forget, moments that carry within them a profound sense of challenge and change.
"For your parents and grandparents, those larger moments were days like Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President Kennedy and the fall of the Berlin Wall. For you -- for all of us -- it was September 11th, 2001, and all that has come in its wake. You saw as freshmen the devastating attacks -- in New York, in a field in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon, just about 50 miles from where we meet today. You saw the horror -- and the heroism. The valor of policemen, firefighters and rescue squads, mixed with the courage and kindness of seemingly ordinary men and women, who, in moments of acute, unaccustomed danger, thought not of themselves, but of those around them.
"You saw the United States send its sons and daughters to free two distant countries from dictatorship. You have seen images of bloodshed and images of bravery. Images of shame and images of sacrifice.
"You are the rarest of generations, because you have seen all of these things."
Valedictorian: John Lanham Jr., who had a grade-point average of 4.27 and earned 30 credits. He will attend the University of South Carolina.
Salutatorian: Anna E. "Beth" Gould, who had a 4.24 GPA and also earned 30 credits. She is planning to attend Dartmouth College.
Top 10 percent of the class: Lanham, Gould, Christina H. Ours, Natasha Hilgartner, Anya E. Good, Stuart G. Ruedisueli, Phoebe W. Quin, Katherine G. Gordon, Nathan R. Hayba, Katherine A. Culbert, Eric N. Duchon, Natalie E. Ferrigno, Ryan S. Murray, Alton C. Echols IV, Zakary S. Zupko, Emily G. Frost, Catherine A. Haney, Lauren A. Hughes, Ryan J. Babarsky, Kevin T. Kestler, Jordan C. DeButts, Amber N. Garib, Nicholas A. Doermann, Nicole M. Cerula, Amy L. Walker, Thomas H. Pine, Nicholas R. Von Gersdorff, Rachel L. Eubank, Evan S. Johnson, Miguel A. Pelton, Samantha L. Farris, Allison S. Beisler, Cassandra A. Wells, Amanda L. Crouch.
Park View High School
Scott K. York, chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors: Declared June 17 "Patriots Day" during commencement exercises at George Mason University's Patriot Center. York, whose daughter, Elizabeth, was among the graduates, spoke about shaping the future on several levels.
Graduates: Of the 333 graduates, 176 received advanced studies diplomas. Eighty-eight of the diplomas bore a Governor's Seal, which means the student earned an advanced studies diploma, maintained a B average and took at least one Advanced Placement course.
Hatrick: Recalled the words of former Park View principal Kenneth Culbert, who died last year. "This is the advice that Kenneth Culbert gave to the students at Loudoun Valley High School at his last meeting with them this year before his retirement. . . . In your life, do some good. Become a better son, a better daughter, a better sister, a better brother and become a community leader. And most important of all, today, tonight, for all the days of your life, represent yourself well in everything that you do. If you can accomplish that advice in your own life, then those who are close to you and the world around you will be better for knowing you and being touched by your life."
Valedictorians: For the first time in 26 years, Park View had co-valedictorians, Richard Hang and Kathryn Meintel.
Top 10 seniors: Hang, Meintel, Pablo Gallegos, Matthew Steiner, Evyn Bressler, Lenore Cebulski, Amy Shields and Hushmath Alam (tied), Kevin Tyler and Christine Choi.
Potomac Falls High School
Graduates: A record 98.9 percent of students graduated on time with their classmates -- 380.
Test scores: The Class of 2004 had the school's highest average SAT scores (528 verbal, 531 math). It received almost $750,000 in grants and scholarships.
Speaker: U.S. Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), whose grandson, Taylor Lugar, was among the graduates: "In all probability, most of you are going to live to be a hundred years or more. That can be exciting or daunting, even if it is a fact. The rest of the years of your lives, sometimes glibly talked about, never have a figure attached or a quantity of this sort. But I'm putting one out there tonight, and I suspect that if any of you remember this talk, or anything from it, you will at some point recall the prediction that you would live to be one hundred."
Top 10 students academically: Yassaman Pourkazemi, Gretchen Hannes, Ernesto Gonzalez, Rachel Link, Katherine Mims, Jenna Martin, Antonia Dionne, Daniel Dodge, Janelle Bryant and Jessica Todd. Pourkazemi graduated with a grade-point average of 4.41 while taking six Advanced Placement courses during her senior year. Hannes finished with a 4.38 GPA that included five Advanced Placement classes.
Faculty scholarship: Heather Anderson and Michael Yummit.
Panther Award: For exemplary contributions to the spirit of Potomac Falls High School: Ryan Coe and Katie Endres.
Class gift: A podium, presented by Martin, the senior class president, and Mims, class secretary, along with the top five reasons it was selected. Reason No. 1: "It's the only thing we could actually afford."
Stone Bridge High School
Distinction: The first class to spend its entire high school career at the school, which opened in 2000.
Principal James Person: "It's hard to realize four and a half years ago I was meeting with a group of raucous eighth-graders, giving them a chance to vote for colors and a mascot for something that was not much more than a hole in the ground. . . . I remember your principal at the time, Mr. (Rocky) Fera, telling me what a spirited group of enthusiastic young people you were. In fact, he said he'd even rehearsed with you how to sit still for a couple of minutes. Now, four years later, we are graduating the first four-year class in Stone Bridge history. You're no longer a bunch of squirrelly eighth-graders or freshmen. At least for the moment, you're a sophisticated group of mature young people. Wherever you go in an uncertain world, I know that you will make a difference."
Scholarships: More than $1 million.
Speaker: Former Redskins linebacker Eddie Mason, who spoke to the graduates about the principles that lead to a successful life: "Never give up. Always believe in yourself, no matter what others think or say about you. It takes a tremendous amount of commitment and sacrifice in order to be successful in life. Always be patient and prepared no matter the position you may be in life. You must prepare yourself to be the best, so that when your opportunity comes, you will be ready and pass the test with great success. Never take things for granted. . . . Appreciate all that you have in life and always be thankful. Don't brag or boast about your life accomplishments, but rather let others do it for you. Never base your success on how much money you have, but rather on how much character and heart you have. . . . When you experience success, you will find out who you really are when everybody is calling your name."
Valedictorian: Sabrina Ebner.
Salutatorian: David Stile.
Perfect attendance since Grade 1: Caitlin Coogle.
Senior gift: A podium and landscaping for a courtyard, presented by Kimberley Eagle and Dale Bostwick, the senior class treasurer and secretary, respectively.