Valedictorians, salutatorians look to the future
Valedictorians, salutatorians look to what the future will bring next
After 13 years of public school, these teens are ready for the next step.
New surroundings and new experiences are what the Charles County Public Schools’ 2016 graduating class valedictorians and salutatorians are looking forward to now that they’ve moved their tassels and received their diplomas.
More than 2,000 high school seniors crossed the stage in the Convocation Center at North Point High School last week and graduated from Charles County Public Schools.
The valedictorian and salutatorian titles are determined by students’ grade-point averages and represent the top academic achievers at each high school. The cohort of 16 students from the county’s seven high schools gathered at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building in La Plata last week for some photo opportunities, chatting about what they will miss about high school and what they’re anticipating for the future.
For some, this achievement came unexpectedly and as an added bonus to graduating.
“I mainly took the classes that interested me so I was just doing what I love,” Olivia Hoy, valedictorian of North Point High School, said last week.
“I got my transcript this year and I was like, ‘Hey, number 2,’” said Kristopher Lukas, salutatorian of La Plata High School. “I’ll take what I can get.”
For others, this was an accomplishment many years in the making.
“I’ve been working towards this since freshman year,” said Thomas Stone valedictorian Jessica Hoare. “I’ve never gotten a B.”
Looking toward the future, Hoy said she was looking forward to the independence that going off to college will bring.
“[I’m looking forward to] controlling my own schedule and living with people my own age,” Hoy said.
“Moving to a new city,” North Point’s salutatorian Jenna Williams said about her upcoming move to attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “It’s scary and exciting.”
Lukas agreed, saying his move to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will be “something different.”
“There’s probably a lot more to do there than [in Charles] County.”
Travel was at the top of Hoare’s list. “Freedom in general” topped the list of La Plata High School’s valedictorian Thomas “T.C.” Martin, who is bound for Yale University.
Together, the Charles County class of 2016 was offered close to $66 million in scholarship offers — an increase of about $4 million from last year, according to a release from the school system. In addition, sports teams from Henry E. Lackey, Westlake and La Plata high schools recently won state championships.
It was for those accomplishments that Lackey co-valedictorian Gabrielle Sandy praised her classmates.
“As a class, you can definitely say we left our mark and went out with a bang,” Sandy said in her graduation speech.
Other students encouraged their classmates to blaze their own trails after high school.
“We are the future, so let’s strive to make it one where we are proud to live and don’t limit the endless possibilities,” Henry E. Lackey High School co-valedictorian Amanda Hobgood said in her speech.
“You’re ready for the future,” said Timothy Wilmot, Lackey’s salutatorian, to his peers. “All that’s left is to craft your place in it. It’s time to take charge of your destiny.”
Charles County Public Schools celebrated 2,062 seniors in graduation ceremonies scheduled for June 2-4 at the Convocation Center at North Point High School. Pictured, front row from left, are Timothy Wilmot, Henry E. Lackey High School salutatorian; Kristopher Lukas, La Plata High School salutatorian; Nicole Mahr, Maurice J. McDonough High School salutatorian; Olivia Hoy, North Point High School valedictorian; Jeanne Franchesca Dela Cruz, St. Charles High School salutatorian; Milton “Tyler” Brown, Thomas Stone High School salutatorian; and Jasmine Andrade, Westlake High School co-salutatorian. Pictured back row from left are: Angela Alexander, Westlake co-salutatorian; Amanda Hobgood, Lackey co-valedictorian; Gabrielle Sandy, Lackey co-valedictorian; T.C. Martin, La Plata valedictorian; Franklin Olmsted, McDonough valedictorian; Jessica Hoare, Stone valedictorian; Amber Williams, St. Charles valedictorian; Jessica Hoare, Stone valedictorian; and Shelby Lawanson, Westlake valedictorian.