(June 20, 2014) – Monroe Technology Center (MTC) Principal Wagner B. Grier opened the Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2014 held on Monday, June 9, in the Heritage High School auditorium to a standing-room-only audience of graduates, family and friends.
“I am honored to be with you tonight,” said Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Edgar B. Hatrick III as he welcomed the audience and addressed the graduates. “I always consider this to be one of the top graduation ceremonies that I attend each year. The ceremonies at Monroe are special to me because you are special…you made some decisions a year, two or three years ago that probably will influence the rest of your life. You chose to take a path that leads you to both careers and potential employment and higher education.
“You are among the smartest and most forward thinking of all of the seniors of the Class of 2014, because you could envision a future that needed, and would incorporate, the experience you have had at Monroe.
“We are very proud of you in every sense of the word. You have accomplished so much already, but we anticipate so much more from you. I urge you never to let anyone be an impediment to the success that you want to have. You are capable of doing whatever you set your mind to do.
“Class of 2014, I have adopted you, because I am retiring this year. Even though my high school class is the Class of 1963, I am re-upping to be part of the Class of 2014…and I could not imagine a better class to join than yours.”
A’isha Sharif of the Class of 2014, an honor student at MTC and Tuscarora High School and a member of the dual-enrollment program of MTC and Northern Virginia Community College, introduced the keynote speaker, Riley Moore. Moore is an MTC welding program graduate and now serves as vice president of the Podesta Group (a lobbyist group in Washington, D.C.). Moore is an advisor to several foreign governments and served as the principal political advisor on foreign affairs for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
“You have all made a great decision in graduating from this institution. While it is true that I am now an advisor to foreign governments, the job that shaped my future was that of a welder from Monroe Technology Center, revealed Moore. My decision to enter Monroe was my first step to putting myself on the right path. I had had a difficult time in high school.
“Once at Monroe, I had my first taste of academic success under the guidance of Mr. Damon Putman. I had never achieved or won anything…but Mr. Putnam was there for me. This man changed my life…he believed in me when no one else did.
“There was a time in high school when I was afraid of success…which really meant that I was afraid to fail,” admitted, Moore. “So I didn’t try, because (I told myself) ‘’If I don’t try, I don’t fail.’ The only thing standing between me and my true potential was the lie that I told myself every day, which was the reason I didn’t try. ‘I’m not smart enough…I’m not good in this subject.’
“Never be afraid to realize your own true potential. My path isn’t ordinary…but it also isn’t extraordinary either. I had the potential for the successes I have realized in high school, but it wasn’t until I came to Monroe that I realized the secret to success, which isn’t really a secret…it is hard work. Being successful in international relations as I have been took just as much hard work as it took to be a successful welder.
“The success I achieved as a welder, gave me the motivation to go on to college, then graduate school. It all began with the outstanding faculty you have here at Monroe.
“What you have learned here has real-life application. You should be proud of what you have learned here and rest assured that your skills can take you as far as you desire. With the right amount of desire and hard work you don’t have to be afraid to be the best welder…the best hair dresser…the best anything you want to be.”
The following students were the 2013-14 top Students of the Year:
- Administration of Justice, Tatyana Hawkins
- Advanced Masonry, Alex Raughton
- Advanced Networking, Deairis Garrett
- Auto Collision Repair Technology, Harley Robey
- Auto Servicing Technology, Adam Pullis
- Biotechnology, Jessica Rominski
- Building Construction, Melvin Castro
- Computer & Digital Animation, Shawn Sanavullah
- Computer Integrated Engineering and Design, Scott Bolar
- Computer Systems Technology, Jarid Rumke
- Cosmetology (Osborne), Lindsey Swartz
- Cosmetology (Smith-Phillips), Natsima Bishop
- Culinary Arts, Kyra Selner
- Emergency Medical Technician, Jawuanna McAllister
- Environmental Plant Sciences, Emily Coppens
- Fire Fighter, Kayla Beale
- Graphic Communications, Dominique Perez
- Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Nathaniel Stientz
- Medical Laboratory Technology, Brianna McLaine
- Nail Design Technology, Daniela Infante
- Pharmacy Technology, Khadeeja Inam
- Practical Nursing, Katelyn Johnston
- Radiology Technology, A’isha Sharif
- Television Production, Eric Orentas
- Veterinary Science, Antonio Darling
- Welding, Bryan Tobias
Also attending the Monroe Technology Center Commencement Exercises were Loudoun County School Board members Thomas E. Reed (At-Large) and Brenda Sheridan (Sterling District).