10 seniors graduate from WRUS
CENTREVILLE — Ten students sat on the Wye River Upper School stage on Thursday night and looked out to see friends, family and faculty applaud their success the past four years. Through hard work, dedication and a willingness to continue improving, the senior Class of 2017 walked into the school students but left graduates.
Held in the gymnasium at the old Centreville Armory, now the home of WRUS, seniors processed through the audience to be front and center of the ceremony honoring their high school completion.
Chrissy Aull, WRUS executive director, said this year’s graduating class had all the students attend the secondary school for all four years, which “truly speaks to your happiness and success here.”
The graduates are as follows: Matthew Donohue, Jordan Edwards, Raja Frazier, Kyle Hetzel, Annika Koehler, Michael Lee, Jerome Prochaska, Keefer Schoon, Holden Stehle and Matthew Swanton.
Alexa Seip, chairman of the WRUS Board of Trustees, said the 10 graduates were “truly marvelous and wonderful” while giving greetings from the Board.
During the ceremony, both teachers and parents were recognized for their work in supporting the students throughout their schooling. While the students entered graduation, each walked in with roses in hand. While they sat on the stage, Aull asked each student to find their family and to present them with the flowers.
The teachers, almost all in attendance, were called out by name and asked to stand for recognition in helping guide the students.
Aull said when she asks students why they are successful at WRUS, “It’s met with a very quick response: the teachers and the staff, they care about me.”
Speaking for the faculty and staff, Aull said the 10 seniors over the past four years were a “joy,” and that “even the blips on the screen and the missteps are the stuff of true comedy,” something all can look back on now and laugh “knowing how very far each have come.”
Aull described the group as a tribe, a “true circle of friends.”
Over the years the seniors had marched in Selma as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had, as well as stood in the same churches, delivered clean water in the Dominican Republic, became role models for toddlers, studied estuaries, strolled through Times Square and curated their own exhibitions. She said together they had “memorialized” the stage with their portrayals of Charlie Brown as well as performed Pink Floyd, “House of the Rising Son,” and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“You help one another find your voice, speak your minds and defend your stance all with boldness, respect and confidence,” Aull said. “Where once many of you were reticent and timid, today you leave this place as orators, communicators, collaborators and advocates, citizens and scholars.”
Before Kate Livie, director of education and associate curator at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and author of “Chesapeake Oysters,” addressed the class, the school choir sang, “Lean On Me.”
Livie, who had lunch with the seniors prior to graduation, said the graduates have a “fire in their bellies, each different, each intriguing, each entirely outside the spectrum of the ordinary.” She said those fires are what makes them tick and that they are “already following their personal North Stars on their lives journey.”
Livie spoke about how her experiences growing up on the Chesapeake Bay helped form who she is today and helped guide her interests growing up.
The same passion and spark Livie had adventuring around the Eastern Shore she said she saw in the seniors, but for music, film, teaching, travel and animals.
“Already, so many of you have done something it takes some people a lifetime to discover — understanding what brings meaning, wonder and direction to your life,” she said.
Livie said the possibilities are endless with this group of students “who have already overcome so many challenges to be here today,” but that those “successful high school graduates with their eyes on the horizon and their hearts full,” will be ready for anything.
Follow Mike Davis on Twitter: @ mike_kibaytimes.
Seniors at Wye River Upper School were surprised on graduation night when they received a stack of books to keep that they had read throughout their four years at the school. The books were placed under each student’s chair.
Kye Hetzel walks through the crowd at Wye River Upper School to the stage to graduate with nine other seniors on Thursday, June 1.
Michael Lee receives the Stuart Bounds Dual Enrollment Award during the Wye River Upper School graduation ceremony on June 1.
Raja Frazier proceeds to the stage at Wye River Upper School on Thursday, June 1, as he joined nine other seniors in graduating.
Matthew Swanton receives the Connor Bell Perseverance Award during the Wye River Upper School graduation ceremony on June 1.
Annika Koehler receives the Portfolio Award for her work senior year during the school’s graduation ceremony on Thursday, June 1.