Aldie, VA (July 1, 2015) – John Champe High School celebrated the school’s second graduation on Thursday, June 18th, in the Champe gymnasium.
Champe Principal John Gabriel welcomed the graduates, their parents and friends to the commencement exercise. He began his remarks by thanking the faculty of Champe for their hard work in getting the graduates to the point of graduation.
Gabriel then turned his attention to the class of 2015. “I learned that some seniors felt like the middle child; that you were not the first to graduate from JCHS, you were not the first class to be here all four years …Indeed, you were not a part of those hallmarks, but the point you are missing, and the point I want you to leave here today knowing, is how much I have genuinely enjoyed this class.”
He described some outstanding traits of the class of 2015.
“This senior class is patient and understands the rewards of being so.
“This senior class is active, involved, and wants to help others.
“This senior class is calm, cheerful, and sees the bigger picture.
“This senior class exudes optimism.
“The world is a confusing place; this senior class knows exactly what it wants and what is needed.”
Gabriel commended the graduating class of 247 students on being awarded more than $2.67 million in scholarship money. His closing advice to the graduates “is to continue what you are doing: hold the line, model your values, and lead the way.”
Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Services Dr. Kimberly Hough congratulated the graduates on behalf of the school division.
She offered the following advice to the graduates: “learn from your mistakes, serve others, build relationships and enjoy this day of celebration and every other day you are privileged to spend with your friends and family.”
Lisa Hook, president and CEO of Neustar, was the keynote speaker. She was introduced by Lauren Funk, the class treasurer.
“I have one word for you, ‘Yes’ ”, said Hook. “I said yes to giving my first high school commencement address to a school that I had not heard of because it was a new experience for me. By saying yes to new challenges I have found myself leading a multi-billion dollar technology company.”
Hook admitted to the graduates that sometime saying “yes” leads to failure. “I’ve said yes and failed. So when you fail, remember the only unfixable condition is death…so stand up and brush yourself off and embrace your next challenge.”
Hook concluded her remarks by asking the graduates to say “yes” to life-long learning. “Your education continues long after you are handed a diploma.”
Gabriel announced Rachel Clark, president of the Class of 2015, as the second annual recipient of the John Champe Senior Faculty Award. He then recognized Bhavya Ravigopal as valedictorian. Bhavya plans to attend the University of Virginia. Amy Wang was announced as the salutatorian. Amy also plans on attending the University of Virginia.
The graduates that had achieved a cumulative grade point average of a 4.0 or higher during their high school career were recognized by Gabriel. They were:
John Tyler Aceron
Luisa Isabel Bonnin
Donald Roessler Jr.
Noelle St. Laurent
Bhavya Ravigopal presented the valedictory address. She told her fellow graduates that they were well-equipped to handle the obstacles that they would be facing in the future because of the three lessons they had collectively learned at Champe.
“First, life doesn’t necessarily turn out the way we intend. So be open to change…Luckily, we have experienced this in high school, so when the unpredictable occurs we will be able to embrace it wholeheartedly.
“Second, you are all failures. And this lesson is the most profound of all because no matter what we do, we will eventually be defeated. But how we rise up from our defeats is what differentiates the ordinary from the truly extraordinary.
“The final lesson is to have fun. You only live once. So enjoy it while it lasts.”
Rachel Clark bid farewell to her fellow classmates by telling them that “Our story at Champe has been written. But your story, and his story, and her story, and Champe’s story, doesn’t end here. I can’t wait to hear about the stories that come from all of the great things you do.”
School Board member, Jeff Morse (Dulles District) attended Champe’s graduation.