MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — Hundreds of family members gathered inside of Little Hall’s theatre to see their sons, daughters, nieces and nephews walk across the stage to receive their diplomas during the Quantico Middle/High School’s 2013 graduation ceremony.
There were 21 Quantico students in white or red gowns and one black gown, all ready to get their lives started. Sporting the black gown was James, a graduating senior from Alexander M. Patch American High School out of Stuttgart, Germany. He participated in the ceremony as a transfer student.
No matter how they made it to the big stage, many of them were ready to go from a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond as they will soon continue their journey to college.
Michael Johnson, QMHS principal, said he was proud of them, and also mentioned that the graduates earned more than $300,000 in scholarships and grants.
“This is my first year as principal at the school and I’m very proud of the graduates,” said Johnson, “100 percent of the class graduated and every single one of them have a scholarship or are headed to the military. They have definitely set the bar for the up and coming seniors to beat.”
The two honor graduates were Kelsie, valedictorian, who had a GPA of 4.258, and Trent, the salutatorian, who had a GPA of 3.873. There were two other distinguished categories that a few of the students were a part of as well. National Honor Society graduates included: Trent, Jennifer, Jean, James, Lawrence H. and Kelsie. The National Math Honor Society graduates included: David, Trent, Jean, James, Martha, Lawrence H. and Kelsie.
This year's commencement speaker was retired Maj. Gen. T.S. Jones. Jones has made a connection with the school through the Outdoor Odyssey program, which provided leadership through mentoring opportunities, that he founded and there are Quantico students who work as mentors at his camp.
His speech to the graduates was as informative as it was entertaining. Even when there were technical difficulties with his microphone, he was able to spin it in his favor and the people who attended enjoyed every second of his speech.
“God bless you for the 12 years that you hung in there with your parents,” said Jones. “You have gone through stresses that others have not had that will make you strong in the future. But you have to continue to set goals, develop a plan, follow the plan, do things right and help others along the way.”
At the end, the last speaker of the evening was James, president of the class.
“I’m going to miss high school,” said James. “It was an amazing ride and I believe that as long as we continue to work hard and not procrastinate, we will be able to accomplish anything."