QACHS cel­e­brates 50th grad­u­at­ing class

Record Observer - - Front Page - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­

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.

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