Purcellville, VA (July 2, 2015) – Chris Consaul’s senior address at Woodgrove High School’s commencement exercises on Thursday, June 18th, centered on a theme familiar to every Wolverine.
“I will be focusing this speech on just three words: work, honor, strive. Three simple words that have been said by (Principal Sam) Shipp over the morning announcements more times than any of us could count. Three words that have been said so often they can just sound like noise. Work, honor, strive, work, honor, strive…Is it just a catchy refrain, or do these three words really have relevance to us? Well, I believe they do.”
Consaul then elaborated on this thought.
“You are all sitting here because of the hard work you did over the past four years…
“Honor means more than not cheating on a test. It means being able to live with integrity. It means being able to admit when you’ve made a mistake. But don’t worry, making mistakes only reassures that you are still human; just like everyone else.
“The final letter in the WHS acronym stands for strive, which seems oddly fitting. We are currently at a jumping-off point. We are packing up our bags, saying our goodbyes and going our separate ways…
“Success comes to those who strive for it. Find that passion, that thing that excites you most in this world and then go for it. Strive for success…
“Know that obstacles may get in the way and you will experience failure – believe me, I’m a theater major – but that will not deter you…Once you have a destination, the road (there) is all that’s left.”
Shipp presided over Woodgrove’s fourth graduation, which was held in the school’s gymnasium. “You all are beginning with a clean slate. You have an open canvas on which to write or paint anything you want. It is up to you.
“I hope each of you views the future with the optimism that you can indeed do anything. And whether or not you finished your senior year with a flourish or you just made it to the line, no matter. You all have made it and your education is something that cannot be taken away.
“However, what you now do with it is up to you and as I indicated you all are now once again at this new beginning and the world is open to you. The decisions you make and the experiences you have will become who you are.”
Shipp listed facts about who these students are:
- There are 374 graduates in the Class of 2015.
- 78 percent attained an Advanced Studies Diploma.
- 88 percent of the graduates will be attending college.
- The graduates were offered nearly $4 million in scholarships.
Assistant Principal Renée Dawson presented the top 10 percent of the class academically. These students include Shabnum Anwari, Emma Appleton, Nicholas Blackwell, Devin Clifford, Christie Crandall, Paul Dorsch, Sara Dudek, Amanda Dukinfield, John Dunne, Kenneth Dunne, Alexander Earley, Colton Egan, Megan Fetterly, Charis Fortunato, Ammon Frederick Harteis, Kristen Garner, Jenna Goode, Ian Hardesty, Saajid Hasan, Rosalie Hoyle, William Jones, Caroline Lampl, Ryan McVey, Ashley Morris, Kaitlyn Murphy, Cailey Oswald, Sierra Raney, Barbara Regan, Chesney Reid, Elizabeth Roden, Ashley Russell, Joseph Saunders, Tyler Scheerschmidt, Jessica Shaughnessy, Levi Shipley, Christine Stewart, Gregory Traver, Devin Venetsanos and Michael White.
Kristen Garner was the valedictorian with a Woodgrove-record grade point average (GPA) of 4.73. The salutatorian was Saajid Hasan.
Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Executive Director of Planning and Legislative Services Dr. Sam Adamo brought greetings from school employees and the rest of the school division’s graduates. He said the graduates will do wonderful things that not even the people who know them could have expected. “With wonder and amazement, you are going to do the unexpected…You will touch thousands of people as you move forward. They will, in my opinion, be lucky to know you.”
The keynote speaker was Justin Graves, who spoke about the power of building relationships. His goal is to meet one new person every day and have a positive interaction with them. “Be interested in the people around you.”
Among the bits of wisdom he offered:
“Consistency is the currency of success…
“You have the opportunity to be whoever you want to be…
“Compare yourself…It’s not a good idea to compare yourself to other people, which is 100 percent absolutely true.” Graves said he compares himself to the person he was before every day. “Every single morning when I wake up, I say ‘Are the decisions I’m making today better than yesterday’s Justin?’”
Class President Harmanjit Tiwana offered a final address to her classmates.
“During my time here at Woodgrove, I had the opportunity to meet many different people. No matter if you have known me for a long or short period, each of you have made an impact on my life. For that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Graduates Emma Appleton, Darby Clinard, Sophia Gwartney, Elizabeth Roden and Christine Stewart performed an a cappella version of “For Good” from “Wicked.”
Special recognition was given to Woodgrove’s retiring faculty members, Ed Brosh, Priscilla Horner, Samantha Purvis, Louise Spicer and Susan Wrenn.
School Board Vice Chairman Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge District) and member Jennifer Bergel (Catoctin District) attended Woodgrove’s graduation.