This is the fifth part of a Viva Loudoun 18-part Graduation 2013 series with a detailed look at the graduations at all the Loudoun County Public Schools high schools and programs.
(July 2, 2013) -Heritage High School Principal, Jeffrey R. Adam welcomed friends and family of the Class of 2013 by sharing a few of the accomplishments of the graduates. “I have been impressed by your character, your humor, your enthusiasm and your determination to succeed,” said Adam.
“You all have amongst you:
- Four National Merit Scholarship Commended students;
- A National Achievement finalist;
- Cappies nominees;
- A State Champion
“Today we will award 273 diplomas, 195 of which will be advanced studies diplomas. 97 percent of you will be headed to college or other educational opportunities next year. Some of you have made the choice to enlist in the military after graduation. (The two seniors enlisting in the military stood to the roaring cheers of the audience).
“As of Friday, May 31, you have earned $3.7 million in scholarships and grants for college. Seniors, I count you as one of the many reasons I feel so fortunate to be principal at Heritage High School. Accept my congratulations for your achievement tonight.”
“Class of 2013 we did it,” said Grace Manser, president of the Class of 2013. “We each have brought our individuality to this class…everyone and everything has been put into our lives for a specific reason. Our experiences have shaped who we are.
“Remember that you have the ability to touch the lives of the people you meet. Change is already happening to each of us. While change may seem terrifying…we all have the tenacity, boldness and potential for greatness.” The Heritage choirs then performed “The Road Home” under the direction of Heather Vereb.
Heritage High School Salutatorian Natalia Kot, who earned a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 4.57 and will attend the University of Virginia in the fall, introduced the ceremony’s stage guests.
The valedictorian was Kelly Rudman with a cumulative GPA of 4.65. Rudman will enroll at the University of Virginia in the fall. “We not only leave behind our legacies…we take a part of our high school with us in our memories,” she told her fellow graduates. “Today we take our first steps toward our futures. Congratulations to the Class of 2013.”
“You are a generation of innovators, visionaries, and entrepreneurs,” said Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Services Dr. Mary V. Kealy. “Because we have full confidence in your skills and abilities, we are looking to you to find solutions to some of the most challenging economic and social problems the world is experiencing. Through greater knowledge, new technologies and innovations, we are certain you will discover and contribute to these solutions in the future.
“As you go forward on your life’s journey and explore new beginnings, there are some simple life lessons I’d like to highlight and share with you:
“It is important to visualize your journey; set your goals high – you are in charge; stay focused; challenge yourself and seek new opportunities; remember that you are not alone on your journey. In turn, be a mentor to someone else you may be leaving behind right here at Heritage High School….you will find it most rewarding and they will gain from the experience as well.
“Don’t forget to develop a passion for something you like and are good at.
“Seek enjoyment and personal fulfillment from a sport, hobby, art form or other activity that brings you pleasure and helps you achieve the balance you need to nurture your mind, body and soul. Keep that joy you experience in a special place –and follow that passion. Stay connected, not only through the latest technology but through personal contact with family, friends and your community. Do whatever you can to strengthen and sustain important relationships.
“Giving back to your home and school community is truly a great way to make a difference. “But whatever you do, always do your best. Be true to yourself and be the best you can be to live your life to the fullest.”
Heritage English teacher Ken Schiffer provided the keynote address to the graduates. Schiffer announced that he (like the graduates) began his career at Heritage High School in 2009, when the Class of 2013 entered as freshmen. Schiffer, who served with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) under FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, advised the seniors that in any situation “play the game and learn the rules.
“For most of you the next stage is college, which will bring a new game and new rules. You’ll like the game…the game is a lot of fun. But if you want a diploma…you must play the game and learn the rules.
“For every job you expect, for every career you undertake, it’s a new game and new rules. When you look back on your choices made in life…I hope you will have a sense of pride, satisfaction and accomplishment with the game played and the rules learned.”
The elementary and middle school principals from the Heritage High School cluster: Jill D. Broaddus (Cool Spring Elementary), Elaine M. Layman (John W. Tolbert Elementary) and Elizabeth A. Robinson (Harper Park Middle School) were in attendance. Also in attendance from the Loudoun School Board were members Tom Reed (At-Large) and Bill Fox (Leesburg District).
Article and photo courtesy Loudoun County Public Schools