The second graduating class of Westfield High School held commencement exercises on Thursday, June 19, graduating 525 students from the George Mason University Patriot Center.
To kick off the event, the Westfield Wind Symphony announced the graduates' arrival with the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance." Following the Presentation of the Colors by the Fairfax County Police Color Guard, and a recitation of the "Pledge of Allegiance," by Graham Falbo, the WHS Chamber Singers, under the direction of Jessica Lardin, sang a powerful rendition of the "National Anthem."
Senior class president Jennifer Chapman welcomed the graduates and their guests, and senior class historian Elizabeth Smith introduced the honored guests.
Riddhi Dasgupta was chosen to be the student speaker. In his speech, Dasgupta recalled "the unusual fall day of 2000 when we, the sophomore class, walked out of the bus with trepidation and approached the gaping halls of Westfield."
He summed up the feelings of the class with: "World, the class of 2003 is ready to join you. God Almighty, we're free at last."
The Faculty Award was then presented to Jennifer Simpson by senior class sponsors Donna Bester and Christy Jenkins. Simpson was injured in a car accident her senior year and remained in a coma for seven weeks. The accident prevented her from graduating with the class of 2002.
"The award — and the reaction from my peers — meant a lot to me. I felt like I truly belonged," said Simpson, who received a standing ovation.
Jennifer Chapman, who received the Student Award from Richael Faithful, was cited for her tireless efforts as class president for the three years she served.
The new Westfield alma mater was then introduced. The song, called "Black and Gold," was written by Chamber Singer director Jessica Lardin. It was performed by the WHS Chamber Singers and Wind Symphony.
Assistant principal Mike Campbell then recognized the honor graduates, including valedictorian Tasneem Hussam. Senior class treasurer Camie Levin delivered the honor graduate speech.
Principal Dale Rumberger and the faculty of WHS then presented the graduates with their diplomas. A slideshow reflected back on the memories of their high school years, with Green Day's "Time of Your Life" playing in the background.
In closing, class president Chapman advised her peers to "keep your faith strong. Hold onto the memories, but move on to the next step. Embrace your experience as well as you can."
The graduates turned their tassels, and joined the ranks of high school graduates.