Pride Graduates Treated to Something New and Something Familiar
Adam opened the ceremony with welcoming remarks to the graduates and their families. He also expressed his gratitude to the Pride graduates for welcoming him and supporting him as their new principal. Adams noted that 189 of the graduates were being awarded Advanced Diplomas and 88 percent of the graduating class planned on attending college or pursuing other educational opportunities. The graduates have been awarded more than $2.7 million in scholarships and grants to continue their education.
Adam characterized the Heritage graduates as “leaders of the highest caliber” for their academic success, school spirit and community support. He commended the graduates for their character, enthusiasm, sense of humor, and leadership”. Adam concluded with the advice, “carry those traits with you and you will go far.”
Class President Owen Gotimer reminded the Class of 2012 of their mission at the beginning of their senior year, “Restore the Roar.” He highlighted some of the high points of senior year, such as beating their “cross-town rival in football” and the challenge of staging their spring musical, “Legally Blonde.” Gotimer finished to the wild applause of his fellow classmates, “Roar restored, mission accomplished!”
Shannon Daily was the class valedictorian with a grade point average (GPA) of 4.67. She has accepted an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Daily offered her classmates some advice and encouragement. “Do not define success in financial terms, but by what is important to you…Look internally for happiness… define achievement by your standards not somebody else’s...I hope you find success where ever you are headed next.”
Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Superintendent Dr. Edgar B. Hatrick III brought greetings and best wishes from all Loudoun educators to the graduates. “Even though I don’t know all of you, I feel a kinship to you because if you started in Loudoun County as a kindergarten student, then I’ve been your superintendent ever since you walked through the door. I learn about you through your principal, your teachers, and through the community you have so beautifully served.”
Hatrick added he felt a special kinship to those graduates who planned to become educators. He pointed out to the graduates the tremendous opportunities they would have to impact their community should they chose to come back to Loudoun to teach. Hatrick recognized retiring Heritage Choral Director Nancy Riley as an example of an educator who had made a tremendous positive and everlasting impact on her students, and her community. “Those of you who are choosing to be educators, you are choosing a career upon which all other careers depend and you are choosing a career that should allow you to make a difference in the world.”
Hatrick also offered the graduates some advice. “Never forget how you felt when you overcame adversity. You will not always be successful… you have to learn from that failure so that the next time you try to succeed you can. Whenever you see adversity, see opportunity to make your life and the lives of others better. That, I believe, is the true path to happiness.”
Borna Kassiri, the class salutatorian, who is attending Duke University, introduced the guest speaker, Huckaby. Huckaby, who currently serves as LCPS director of employee relations, was the principal of Heritage High School from its opening in 2002 until this year.
Huckaby laughingly said she was excited to finally get to be the featured speaker for the Heritage graduation, rather the “just” the principal because she could be more free with her remarks.
“I can’t resist the opportunity to send you forward with some advice.” She offered the graduates four suggestions.
Huckaby concluded her remarks to the Heritage graduates with her best wishes. “Take care of yourselves and make this world a more peaceful and accepting place for all of us – and let’s get on with the show.”
Attending the Heritage graduation were School Board members Tom Reed (At-Large) and Bill Fox (Leesburg District).