Before a packed Cougar gymnasium and the Pomp and Circumstance processional, the Manassas Park High School Class of 140 was given a rousing reception on Saturday night at the school’s 31st commencement ceremony.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance by Ja Van Jefferson and the National Anthem by the school’s Chamber Singers, Principal Tracy Shaver welcomed the enthusiastic crowd, telling them, “We here at the school have a long history of dignity and joy at our commencement program. Please only clap at the appropriate time. We are proud of the fact that we start our events on time and since its 7:59 p.m. it’s time to start.” It did with a standing ovation as the graduates marched in.
He told the graduating seniors “that you have done a remarkable job over the past 13 years and you will leave a life that was special as you step into becoming an adult. Seventy percent of you will be attending higher education, 24 percent will join the workforce and 4 percent will go into the armed forces. I hope you will all have a positive effect on the world. Best of luck to your future success.”
The class president’s remarks were given by Lori Cullom who said the Class of 2007 “is leaving a little bit of heaven behind.”
The speakers were given a break as the School Senior Choir member sang a Carrie Underwood song “Whenever You Remember.”
The night’s address was given by C. Bruce McDade, associate superintendent and former principal at the school.
McDade titled his speech “Seven Minutes to the Class of 2007” and told the graduates that when he first addressed them as freshmen his goal was to “see them walk across the stage as graduates.”
“I couldn’t be more pleased with what this class has accomplished. All of you have a tremendous talent and I encourage you to make the best of it. To be asked to be your commencement speaker is a high honor and I thank you for inviting me.”
Salutatorian Diana Strelow thanked “everyone for helping and supporting us through the years” and wished the graduates well and stressed “don’t forget where you came from.” She will attend George Mason University.
Valedictorian Giana Solomon said “I’m honored to stand before as valedictorian” and compared the class with those early settlers 400 years ago at Jamestown “for their great courage,” adding “that our history is the class of 2007.” She got a standing ovation. Solomon will attend the University of Virginia.
Superintendent Thomas Debolt offered his congratulations to the graduates and told them they were something special since they had been called upon so many times to volunteer their services in helping move equipment from one closing school into a new one.
“We had some great pizza parties after the moving was done … often in as little as three hours,” he said.
The winners of the scholarships and awards were announced.
• Crystal Andrew – Pamplin Leadership Scholarship and Virginia Tech Academic Scholarship
• Ashley Becton – Daughter’s of the American Revolution Scholarship, Manassas Park High School and Manassas Park High School Faculty Scholarship.
• David Brown – Mt. Aloysius Athletic Scholarship.
• Kramer Cadle – West Virginia University Blue and Gold Scholarship
• Rosa Castillo – Manassas Park Education Foundation Scholarship
• Cullom – National Elks Foundation Scholarship
• Justin Ferrell – Louis Maroon Memorial Scholarship
• Titos Gosalvez – Manassas Park High School Athletic Scholarship
• Shanique Grigsby – William Penn Academic and Track Scholarship
• Nina Guevarra – Manassas Park PTSO Scholarship and Red Lawson Scholarship
• Julio Hernandez – Manassas Bull Run Rotary Club Scholarship
• JaLinda Jefferson – Manassas Park PTSO Scholarship
• Ja Van Jefferson – Council of Negro Women Scholarship, Manassas Bull Run Rotary Club Scholarship, Manassas Elks Lodge No. 2512 Scholarship and Manassas Park Women’s Club Scholarship
• Zach Kersey – Merit Scholarship Methodist College
• Delorean Lankford – Liberty Champions Scholarship
• Benjamin Martell – William Penn Wrestling Scholarship
• Ashley McConnell – ACT College Essay and ACT College Scholarship
• Colleen Miehm – Manassas Park High School Music and Manassas Park PTSO Scholarships
• Nickeila Murph – Ferrum College Merit Grant
• Courtney Peterson – Betty Mullins Scholarship and Manassas Park PTSO Scholarship
• Hung Gia Pham – James Moyers Jr. Memorial Scholarship
• Victor Purchase – Kiwanis Club of Bull Run Scholarship and Manassas Park PTSO Scholarship
• Susana Rodriguez – George Mason University Academic Scholarship
• Carol Rose – Rotary Club of Manassas Scholarship
• Solomon – Manassas Elks Lodge No. 2512 Scholarship, Manassas Park PTSO Scholarship, Prince William County-Greater Manassas Chamber of Commerce Scholarship and Virginia Cable Telecommunications Scholarship
• Courtney Steele – Fire and Ice Scholarship, Shippensburg University Scholarship and William Steele Memorial Scholarship
• Diana Strelow – George Mason University Academic Scholarship
• Ashley Weber – Manassas Park Education Foundation Scholarship
• Brittany West – West Virginia University Blue and Gold Scholarship
• Toney White – Athletic Scholarship Liberty University.