John Champe High School celebrated the school’s first graduation on Monday, June 16, the Champe gymnasium.
Champe Principal John Gabriel welcomed the graduates, parents and friends to the commencement exercise by listing a number of firsts, “this is the first-ever graduation speech to the first-ever graduating class at John Champe High School. Coincidentally, this is the first-ever graduation speech I have ever given.”
Gabriel went on to thank the graduates for making a lasting impression on the culture of the school. Through your sheer force of will, your courage and perseverance, you have accomplished more than any new school in ”
Some of the accomplishments were:
- Conference champion in swimming;
- Conference champions in forensics (speech and debate);
- Conference champion academic team;
- Award-winning yearbook;
- Girls’ soccer conference champions;
- Numerous perfect Advanced Placement and SAT scores.
“As a class of 138 students, 80 percent of you will pursue post-secondary education and have accrued over $1.78 million dollars in scholarships and grants.”
Gabriel concluded his remarks by offering the graduates two pieces of advice. “Learn to manage the clock so to speak. Don’t let time take over you… make every moment count.” Secondly:
“Whatever you do make sure it is something you love, life is too short for it to be any other way.”
Andrea Colon-Perez, Class of 2014 salutatorian, introduced Dr. Edgar Hatrick III, superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS). Unlike Mr. Gabriel who said this was his first graduation, Hatrick stated he had attended hundreds of commencement exercises. “No two are ever alike, but none is more important than the one you are celebrating right now.”
Hatrick commended the graduates for taking the opportunity to be in the first graduating class of John Champe. He had two requests of the graduates. First, “ Never miss the opportunity to be kind to others… not be just polite… but that you go out of your comfort zone to do something for somebody else without thought that you might ever receive anything in return for it.” And secondly,
“Always give back more than you receive.”
Former Congressman Michael Oxley delivered the commencement address. Oxley noted that while he had given 50 to 60 commencement speeches this was the first one in Virginia. He added that the graduates are well on their way to success because of where they live.
“We live in the best country in the world. We have the best healthcare. We have universal free public education through high school. We have the best housing… We are some of the most fortunate people in the world. I know you will contribute to the continuing prosperity of our country.”
Hiba Malik, president of the Class of 2014, was presented the first annual Senior Faculty Award by Gabriel. She received a $500 scholarship for her recognition as the outstanding graduate. Gabriel then recognized Jacqueline Liou as valedictorian. She plans to attend the University of Virginia.
The graduates that had achieved a cumulative GPA of 4.0 or higher were recognized by
Gabriel. They were:
- Jacqueline Liou – Jackie will be attending the University of Virginia (valedictorian).
- Andrea Colon-Perez – Andrea will be attending Harvard (salutatorian).
- Sean Haliyur – Sean will be attending the University of Maryland College Park.
- Maggie Stites – Maggie will be attending Iowa State University.
- Eden Knudson – Eden will be attending Brigham Young University.
- Neslida Kodra – Neslida will be attending the University of Virginia.
- Hayden Kutrieb – Hayden will be attending the University of Virginia.
- Taylor Downs – Taylor will be attending the University of Virginia.
- Rianne Sanchez – Rianne will be attending George Mason University.
- Daeun Jeong – Daeun will be attending Virginia Commonwealth University.
- Ethan Vu – Ethan will be attending Virginia Tech.
- Susan Corkran – Susan will be attending William and Mary.
- Ryan Fuller – Ryan will be attending Clemson University.
- Anusha Kumar – Anusha will be attending Virginia Tech.
- Harsha Dindigal – Harsha will be attending the University of Virginia.
- Jessie Graham – Jessie will be attending Lincoln Memorial University.
Liou congratulated her classmates for their achievements and thanked the faculty of John Champe for their support on behalf of her fellow graduates.
We must be willing to break the chains of conformity… we must have the will to persevere to make a difference. I challenge you (Class of 2014) to open your heart to the rejected hearts, to open your minds to the neglected minds and all it takes is ”
School Board member Jeff Morse (Dulles District) attended Champe’s graduation.