As the bustle of the academic year comes to a close and the echoes of “Pomp and Circumstance” still resonate in the air, two recent high school graduates, Hannah Almond of Thomas Dale High School and Thomas Cree of Matoaca High School, look back on the last four years and look forward to discovering what the future holds.
When recounting several memories and important occurrences of their high school careers, both graduates were struck by the influence that the arts had during their times walking the halls of Dale and Matoaca. Almond, a violinist of the Thomas Dale Specialty Center for the Performing Arts, recalled a sentimental memory from her freshman year. At the end of her Musician’s Studio class during the first week of school, the majority of the students, unprompted and unrehearsed, began to perform a rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Almond described the “spontaneous jam session” as “really impressive and special.” These musical gatherings would characterize many of her significant high school moments.
Likewise, Cree discussed his participation in several plays. As an active member of the drama department both on and off the stage, he performed in the three productions— 7 Ways to Say I Love You, Gossip, and The Lottery— and worked behind the scenes for three others— Hairspray, Zombie Room, and Daddy’s Girl. In addition to theater, Cree also mentioned a list of faculty members that had a lasting influence on his time at Matoaca— Mr. Valentine, Mr. Cole, Ms. Humphrey, Ms. Schenk, Mr. Nixon, Mr. Cunningham, and Ms. Farrell. All of these educators, he said, had greatly helped him along the way.
Of the commencement ceremonies themselves, both Almond and Cree generously expressed their praises. “It was really nice,” Almond emphasized. She was especially happy that live music played a part in the graduation ceremony; the choir, orchestra, and band members all performed. When describing his graduation, Cree acclaimed, “It was phenomenal. The faculty did a great job.” The experience, although exciting and jubilant, was also bittersweet for Cree and his peers, as graduation goes hand in hand with uncertainties about the future and with physical and emotional distances between friends. Despite these worries, these two graduates are raring to venture onto the next stages of their lives.
Although greatly appreciative of her high school experience and education, Almond is ready to truly delve into her studies, a task more difficult to achieve while still in high school. “I’m excited to explore all of my interests in more depth,” she said about her enrollment at the College of William and Mary. Similarly, Cree, hoping to join either the Navy or the Marines, is eager for his future opportunities. “There’s so much more possibility,” he said. These graduates, as well as the rest of their class, have many doors open to them, portals leading to countless prospects and wondrous events.