QACHS celebrates 50th graduating class
CENTREVILLE — Under a perfect June sky, the 50th class of Queen Anne’s County High School held its commencement exercises. The Class of 2017 was welcomed by Principal Amy Hudock as graduation was conducted on the athletic field next to the high school June 1. With friends, family, and faculty watching, the 276 graduates proceeded onto the field, to the accompaniment of QACHS high school band.
Interim Superintendent Gregory Pilewski first addressed the seniors — soon to be graduates — about finding their passion. Perseverance, attitude, and selflessness are all character traits helpful in guiding them along their pathway to find-
ing their passion, Pilewski said. He encouraged graduates to use their imagination and seek out opportunities, not being afraid to open the next door, never letting anyone define who they are.
Salutatorian Madison Jasick spoke next to her fellow classmates. What is to come [next] college, workforce, or the armed forces ... we must be present in this moment, Jasick told them. We are surrounded by the present more so than any previous generation, she said.
While we are ridiculed for our obsession with technology, the constant information and awareness so accessible gives us the power to change things, and we can do it now, she concluded.
It is an honor to be here, where 50 years ago, the first graduating class of Queen Anne’s County High School stood, said Valedictorian Connor Doherty. “This year little remained constant ... but life is ever changing, we have been sheltered, and from here we become adults.”
One thing, Doherty said, he learned, is that work ethic is not optional, but mandatory to succeed.
However, Doherty is aware he said, that things must be taken one step at a time. “Be mindful,” he said, “everyone has their own way to get from point A to B.” Doherty quipped, some people strap a Fitbit to their wrist and go out of their way to get 1,000 steps, someone else will strap it to their dog and throw a tennis ball. However you choose to get there, concluded Doherty quoting Obi Wan Kenobi, “the force will be strong with you always. Go get your 1,000 steps.”
Abilgail Folker, president for the Class of 2017, addressed her fellow graduates, “A someday, that once seemed perpetually out of reach ... this moment, right now, we will never forget.” Amidst pep rallys, musicals and the confusion brought on throughout the year by staff changes ... we have forged friendships, Folker said. High school shapes who we are and who we become; this year, specifically, Folker said, taught them how to deal with change and that forward is the only direction to go.
She closed with a quote from author C.S. Lewis, “There are far better things ahead, than those we leave behind.”
Hudock said 50 years ago gas was 33 cents a gallon and “All You Need is Love” was playing on the radio. When the school opened in January 1967, four schools combined from previously segregated schools in the county to form the current high school. That first year, there were no sidewalks, just wood planks to keep everyone out of the wood, and the first bell system was a boat horn, until the new bells were installed. In spite of those challenges and changes, said Hudock, lockers were shared, the school mascot and colors chosen, and friendships forged.
“You, like the class of ‘67, have faced several changes and challenges ... you have been resilient,” Hudock told the graduates. “Whatever you do, move forward.”
The recurring theme among administrators and student speakers was one of change, but also perseverance and progress. “Always keep moving forward, forward to what is ahead,” closed Hudock as she turned the final event of the evening over to Board of Education President Bishop Arlene Taylor.
As Taylor instructed the students to turn their tassels, signifying the end of their journey as QACHS students, she told them, “Never lose sight of what brought you to this day. Wherever the journey leads you, follow your passion and stay true to yourself.”
Nine members of the Queen Anne’s County High School’s first graduating class, the Class of 1967, attended commencement services Thursday evening, June 1. It marked the 50th anniversary of their graduation. From the left, Class President Clay Smouse, Norman Davidson, Brenda Ashley Dodd, Rosalind Hoxter, Madeline Parks HUbbard, Orvin Elliott, Susan Baker Boone, Marsha Wilder and Phyllis Brown.
The graduating seniors of QACHS appearing together in cap and gown at the 50th commencement of the high school that opened in 1967.
Led by Eric Wright, the very large school band played the traditional “Pomp & Circumstance” musical selection for nearly 30 minutes as all the graduating seniors marched to their seats.
Each graduating senior had their picture taken with the entire 2017 class behind them. Here, graduate Harrison Fear had his picture taken after receiving his diploma, Thursday evening, June 1.
QACHS Senior Salutatorian Madison Jasick spoke her final words to the Class of 2017.
QACHS Class 2017 Valedictorian Connor Doherty as he delivered his commencement address, Thursday evening, June 1.