“You are now 2013 graduates” are the last words from the podium before mortar boards soar into the air, static with expectations. For four days last week, Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) graduated more than 4,200 students from 11 high schools across the county – 1850 from southeastern Chesterfied’s five schools alone. Almost 3,500 friends and relatives filled the seats of the Stuart C. Siegel Center supporting their graduate at each ceremony.
Graduation from fifth grade, the last ceremony filled with pomp and circumstance, was the last these seniors had experienced. But while grade five’s expectations of middle school were exciting, it pales compared to the life changing event of high-school graduation.
It’s the start of a new life, one of expectations, of new goals and for some dreams of educational experiences far from home. No matter what the future holds, the class of 2013 is off and running.
“This is all about you,” said Dr. Marcus Newsome, Superintendent of CCPS. “... you will remember how you felt this moment...the person you sat next to...” Dr. Newsome emphasized for the seniors to thank their parents, their teachers and everyone who helped them through the last four years.
The senior class president, valedictorian and salutatorian spoke from the podium about remembering the good times and the bad times, such as the senior prom, football games, soccer and basketball games. Don’t forget freshman year and your friends and the most poignant of all – seize all future opportunities.
For some, classes this school year meant a special experience through the specialty center programs: international baccalaureate, visual and performing arts, information technology, Governor’s academy for engineering studies. Electives, such as chorus, band and sports; teams that reached for the stars and found them in district and regional championships made 2013 the year that was for the graduates.
Ben Bernanke had a little advice on life when he addressed Princeton University on Sunday. “Whatever life may have in store for you, each of you has a grand, lifelong project, and that is the development of yourself as a human being. … If you are not happy with yourself, even the loftiest achievements won’t bring you much satisfaction.”
Speeches made by those at the top of their class echoed Bernanke’s sentiment.
Dean Landes, Valedictorian at Matoaca High School said, “If you are not