Vale­dic­to­ri­ans, salu­ta­to­ri­ans look to the fu­ture

Vale­dic­to­ri­ans, salu­ta­to­ri­ans look to what the fu­ture will bring next

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By SARA NEW­MAN snew­man@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @in­dy_­com­mu­nity

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.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

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