Sterling, VA (June 21, 2015) – Dominion High School held its 11th commencement exercises on Sunday, June 14th, in the school’s gymnasium and auditorium.
“During our short four years together we have been pleased to observe your extraordinary personal growth, while collecting overwhelming evidence that suggests you are the most accomplished graduating class to leave your mark on Titan Territory,” said Principal Dr. John Brewer.
Some of the outstanding achievements of the Class of 2015 included:
- Seven students in the Class of 2015 have been named National Merit Scholarship finalists.
- Eight graduates achieved perfect scores on 10 SAT sub-tests.
- Graduates earned $2.1 million in grants and merit-based scholarships.
- 19 members of the Class of 2015 have been selected for inclusion in the Titan Hall of Fame.
“Please remember that the greatest achievements of an extraordinary life are almost always found within the selfless service on behalf of others who are more vulnerable than you are,” Brewer added. “Titans in the Class of 2015, may you lead a life of extraordinary significance…we are very proud of you.”
Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Assistant Superintendent of Technology Dr. Rich A. Contartesi greeted the Class of 2015. “Congratulations, seniors, what an exciting time in your life. You have a lot to be proud of. You’ve experienced much…you’ve stayed the course…and succeeded in completing your first milestone in life.
“You’ve grown up with technology, it’s part of your DNA. You are competing with students globally for jobs. Whether it be in Loudoun, China, Europe or anywhere with an Internet connection. It will not be surprising for you to have multiple jobs or careers by the time you are in your 30’s. ’Technology accelerates the speed of communication.
“Just because you are graduating doesn’t mean that I can’t assign you homework for life. I will leave you with three assignments to complete every day:
“Write your goals and read them daily.
“Write three things that you are grateful for every day.
“Follow your heart and dreams and let nothing be a barrier to your success.
“Enjoy every day and create your awesome life with passion, dedication and with the attitude that you can do anything that you put your mind to. Congratulations, good luck and Godspeed.”
Seena Honarvar, the salutatorian of the Class of 2015, who earned a 4.70 GPA and perfect scores on the math and biology SAT sub-tests addressed the seniors. Honarvar will attend the University of Virginia in the fall. Honarvar advised the senior class to:
“Do what you love and what makes you happy – not what makes others happy or what may fulfill others’ expectations. True happiness comes from doing what you love. Do not only do the things that you do best….think about what you enjoy…if you enjoy doing something you’ll become good at it.
“Set your own expectations and never be afraid to push yourself.
“Seek not the means of your life…but the ends. Choose the goal in your life and you’ll find the path. Keep your head up and focus on your goals. You may switch paths, but you will always find your destination.
“It is important to embrace where you are in life and make the most of it. Be thankful not only in your moments of greatness…but also in your moments of difficulty. It is in your hours of adversity and difficulty that you will experience the most growth. Do not merely survive during adversity…but thrive during adversity.”
Dominion science teacher Denise Wingfield awarded the annual faculty scholarships. This year, the faculty voted to award three scholarships instead of the traditional two. This was made possible by a one-day donation of $721 by the Titan faculty. The three recipients of the $600 faculty scholarships are:
- Josseline Sofia Mejia Andres
- Ilia Jahanbiglari
- Walter Francisco Carcamo Erazo
Katherine Armstrong is the valedictorian of the Class of 2015. Armstrong earned a 4.73 GPA while concurrently studying Advanced Placement German and AP Spanish during her senior year. Next year Armstrong will defer her admission to William & Mary to repeat her senior year as a student in a German high school.
“Never give up on your dreams,” Armstrong said. “Chase that illusion of perfection, strive for that ideal. Set your sights higher, rather than lower. Don’t fall prey to the tendency to avoid disappointment by lowering standards of achievement. Challenge yourself to raise the bar. You might even surprise yourself by how easily you can bridge the extra distance.
“When you consider your own potential…measure it against your past and your present…not against that of your peers. Do not forget that you are an individual with your own unique potential. Do not let the lax standards of others lull you into complacency. Challenge yourself to reach your goals, not because of outside pressure but because your drive comes from within.
“Perhaps what anyone really needs is balance, the ability to embrace two opposites. How else can you make sense of life’s paradoxes? As you move forward in life…I wish you balance, I wish you the strength to welcome growth…You can continue to grow your entire life.”
The Dominion High School Chorus performed “In My Life,” under the direction of My-Van Nguyen.
Madihah Alam delivered the senior address. Alam has been awarded $37,800 in scholarships and will attend Virginia Commonwealth University.
Inspired by her grandfather, Alam challenged her fellow graduates, “Be honest, kind, generous, selfless and liked by everyone.
“We should never let our failures define our capabilities or confine our opportunities.” After receiving a letter of rejection to a prestigious institution, Alam realized, “We can all turn the ‘we regret to inform you’ into ‘we are pleased to inform you.’ With hard work and persistence, Class of 2015, we are all intelligent individuals who aspire to reach our goals. Do not shy away from your greatness…just because you are too afraid that you are not good enough. Greatness exists in all of us.
“Having strength in difficult circumstances allows you to control you own life and progress forward. You are strong enough to overcome the challenges that life gives you instead of giving up and allowing the challenges to overpower you.
“Each and every one of you displays the characteristics of compassion, knowledge and strength. I wish that each and every one of you discovers your passions…which will lead to your success and happiness.”
Eric and Luke Esposito introduced the graduates’ selection for faculty speaker, Anthony Eifler, a Dominion career and technical education instructor.
“When I came back to Dominion to teach, this was one of my bucket items,” said Eifler. “I think this is one of the coolest traditions we have here at Dominion. Almost nine years ago today…I was sitting in one of the same seats as you, the graduates. While I couldn’t wait to leave as a senior…over the last nine years I realized that Dominion High School is truly a special place to be. There is a reason that 10 staff members here are graduates of Dominion.”
Based upon quotes from people who inspired Eifler, his challenge to the Class of 2015 was threefold:
“Be the change that you want to see in the world…don’t rely on others to do it for you.
“Live each day with laughter, thought and with tears.
“Don’t ring the bell (quit)…there is nothing in this world that you cannot accomplish.”
In attendance at the commencement exercises were Loudoun County School Board members Thomas E. Reed (At-Large) and Debbie K. Rose (Algonkian District).
Also in attendance were present and former Dominion High School cluster principals including Mark McDermott, Seneca Ridge Middle School; Bill Raye, the retired principal of Horizon Elementary; Angela Robinson, former principal of Sugarland Elementary; Laura Seck, principal of Meadowland Elementary; and Bruce Shafferman, principal of Lowes Island Elementary.