A capacity crowd that filled All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas on Saturday morning for the Seton High School Commencement program witnessed a rare feat.
Twins Amanda and Laura Shaw, who finished with identical 4.0 averages during their high school careers, were the co-valedictorian and together gave the valedictory address.
Standing together at the podium, the two stressed to the other 48 graduates to set “lofty goals and to develop their own talents and contribute to the betterment of their community.”
“We must all have a plan … a road map for the rest of our lives, keeping focused on our goals,” said Amanda while offering the twins’ “congratulations to the class of 2003.” Both thanked the school staff for “helping us grow into strong Catholics.”
The twins, who plan to attend Catholic University, are the daughters of Amy and Brian Shaw. Laura plans to major in either pre-med or nursing while Amanda plans to seek a degree in math or English.
The two attended Holy Family Academy before enrolling at Seton. They are the oldest of six children and the family has lived in Manassas for eight years.
Despite having to share the top honor, Laura said she was happy that both were tied for the award.
While the two have always been competitive “it has been in a good spirit kind of away,” she said in an interview outside the church as the graduates lined up for the processional march.
The graduating class entered the church to the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” played by Edward Elgar.
Sarah LaVigne gave the salutatory address, saying ”we have been through it all while attending school and now we must look ahead as we can change the world.” She nearly broke down at the end of her talk, wiping away tears.
The commencement address was given by the Rev. Father Marcel Guarnizo, president of Aid to the Church in Russia, a group that is helping to rebuild the churches in that country.
“Your greatest responsibilities will come with your new independence,” he cautioned the graduates, adding “the world is waiting for young people like you with enthusiasm. Work hard at what you do and go into the world and show what you have learned. May you grow and flourish.”