Class of 2012 Graduates Bid Farewell
By Sarah Steele Wilson
Jun 11, 2012, 15:50
It was an emotional weekend in Hopewell and Prince George as the senior classes of 2012 took the first steps towards the rest of their lives across the stage at graduation.
Although Clifford J. Wright, president of the senior class at Hopewell High School, choked back tears as he read the final lines of a poem during the beginning of Friday night’s ceremony, the mood was celebratory.
“Though it may now be time to move on,” he read, “today’s memories will last your whole life long.”
“Looking out at all of you, my fellow classmates sitting in your caps and gowns, it is finally starting to feel real,” said Salutatorian Bryanna Lorraine Tessier.
“We did it. After four long years of high school, we have finally made it to this day: our high school graduation.”
photo by Sarah Steele Wilson
While she and Valedictorian Nicholas Roy McDowell said their “thank yous” and “goodbyes” and reminisced in their speeches, they also looked to the future.
McDowell cited the Alexander Graham Bell quote, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.
“So, let’s not look at the door that will close the second we get our diplomas and we’re finally dismissed for the night,” he said.
“Rather, let’s look at the doors that will open in our future.”
Clifford called the graduating seniors back to their childhoods to sing and gesture along to the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” nursery rhyme before linking it to their post high school lives.
“That spider is you and that spout it is climbing is the journey you will embark on in life,” he said, urging them to get back up after being knocked down by trials and tribulations.
He also led the class in a sing-along to the contemporary hit “Tonight” by the band Fun.
“Tonight, we are young. So let’s set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun,” the graduates sang, setting the tone for a jubilant collection of diplomas.
Many students danced on and off the stage while eruptions of silly string broke out in the rows of waiting students and a beach ball bounced through the sea of blue and gold robes.
photo by Sarah Steele Wilson
Prince George students rose early on Saturday morning to celebrate the end of their high school careers.
“Real life starts today,” Student Government Association President Malikah Williams told the 404 students waiting on the school’s football field.
Williams kicked off a round of speeches that focused on future challenges and successes that would lie ahead of the graduates.
“Every minute is important, so make them count,” advised Salutatorian Cynthia Rachel Arnold.
Valedictorian Olivia Irene Kosciusko Tritschler linked the growth of students from children to graduates to the growth still ahead of them.
“We no longer have to dream about what we want to be when we grow up. We can make those dreams a reality,” she said.
“We are no longer the little children sharing our toys in the sandbox, but adults ready to share ideas with the world. So I wish everyone the best of luck in your future explorations. The day has finally come. We did it, class of 2012.”
School superintendent Dr. Bobby Browder offered the students, who he noted secured almost $1.5 million in scholarships this year, a record-setting number for the division, some words of wisdom from Bill Gates and a goodbye of his own.
“Choose wisely as you travel the next path of your life, and farewell to you.”
The honor graduates, students who maintained a cumulative grade point average of 4.0 or above, received their diplomas first, followed by the rest of the class clad in green robes.
They hugged and high-fived each other on the field before heading off to find their families and their futures.