Leesburg, VA (June 29, 2015) – Tuscarora High School Principal Pamela Croft welcomed the audience of graduates, their families and friends to the 2015 commencement exercises for Tuscarora High School, held on Thursday, June 18th, in the school’s gymnasium.
“This morning we pause to reflect on the accomplishments of the Class of 2015. Over the last several weeks I have had an opportunity to reflect on the many successes that we have achieved together with this class.”
Croft then listed some of these accomplishments:
- The Class of 2015 earned more than $4 million in academic scholarships.
- SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement (AP) scores have continued to equal or exceed local and state scores.
- 211 members of the senior class completed the fourth quarter with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.7 or higher.
- The Theatre Department captured eight Cappie nominations and three wins.
“Respect, service, integrity and excellence have been the character traits of this class. You genuinely care about each other. I have watched you place the needs of others in front of yourselves. These are the character traits that will make you successful in life.
“RISE…respect, integrity, service and excellence…please carry that with you. I am so proud…so honored…so humbled to have served as your principal.”
Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Assistant Superintendent of Technology Dr. Richard A. Contartesi greeted the Class of 2015 on behalf of the school district. “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 is part of your DNA. Your competition could be from Loudoun County, the United States, China, Russian, India, Europe or virtually 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, data and information.
“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 morning…
“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 successful life.
“Enjoy every day and create a wonderful life. You can do anything that you put your mind to.”
Senior Class President, Laura Vasquez-Bolanos introduced Colin McGee, who delivered the senior address. McGee reflected on his class’ history. “We will remember our times here through the friendships we made over our four years here together. Wherever we go, whatever we do, may we always be friends when we meet.”
Thomas Kronenberg is the valedictorian of the Class of 2015. Kronenberg asked the audience to close their eyes and made the point that, though everyone has their eyes closed, they all see the same thing, but almost no one is thinking the same thing. “This is the way we are made,” noted Kronenberg. “We can all come through the same situation, but we will think about it completely differently. It is this type of diversity that makes us different. Everyone has a past…that is what makes us think and act the way we do.
“So when you come in contact with someone who thinks differently from you, don’t shun them for any faults they may have, praise them for the battles they have overcome.
“It is with great honor that I stand before you and say, congratulations.”
Tuscarora Assistant Principal Justin Martin announced the award of the $2,000 annual faculty scholarship to Misky Mohamed Sharif.
Dr. David C. Johnson, an orthopedic surgeon with the National Sports Medicine Institute addressed the senior class. “I know many of you because when this school started my brother and I became the team physicians. I have seen you through thick and thin. I am very, very proud of the accomplishments you have made both on and off the field.
“This is out of my comfort zone,” Johnson acknowledged. “I am comfortable if I am on the field and a shoulder pops out…putting it back in, I’m comfortable with, but when asked to speak before you…I questioned what will I talk about?
“I decided I will share some of the aspects of my life…some of my failures that have gotten me to where I am today. With each success individuals have had, there have been multiple failures. The failures define us and help us to grow.”
Johnson grew up in upstate New York in a family of six brothers and one sister. Not wealthy, the family lived modestly and Johnson was the first to attend college. He had a vision; he knew that he had something in him that would enable him to do something great. “I believe everyone in this room has that…”
“When I graduated from high school, I wanted to become a doctor. I selected the best school I could…I attended the University of Virginia.” Though surrounded by numerous naysayers, with assistance from a mentor, he successfully entered medical school.
“In my life I was guided by a few rules:
“Have a vision. Have a dream…it will get clearer and clearer every day.
“Be prepared for when an opportunity presents itself.
“Be fearless of failure…don’t be afraid to fail…it will make you stronger…it will make you successful.
“Some of the biggest failures in my life have led to the biggest successes. You must believe in your vision, believe in yourself and don’t give up.
“Each and every one of you has greatness inside of you. Your drive and your passion inside you is really what will make you successful.”
The Tuscarora Jazz Band and senior choral graduates performed “River in Judea.” The senior soloist was Elizabeth Getis performing “Goodbye to You” and the A Cappella Choir performed the Tuscarora High School Alma Mater, “One Good Reason,” featuring soloist, Stephen Coakley.
Loudoun County School Board Chairman, Eric D. Hornberger (Ashburn District) and William D. Fox (Leesburg District) attended the Tuscarora High School Commencement Ceremony.