Chantilly High School held its graduation ceremonies last Tuesday at George Mason University's Patriot Center for 431 graduating seniors.
The students marched in to the classic theme of "Pomp and Circumstance" as the crowd stood and cheered and a few colorful members of the audience blew fog horns.
Heather DeMay, president of the class, welcomed members of the Chantilly Junior Air Force ROTC who presented the colors. The school's orchestra and selected chorus members then recited the National Anthem.
Principal Tammy Turner presented the Faculty Award to Jason Klein — a student who teachers describe as "exceptionally bright, with a strong work ethic."
Turner then introduced those students with a GPA of 4.0 or higher. There were 20 students who achieved this honor — two of whom were named the Salutatorian and the Valedictorian.
Lauren Richard was named class Salutatorian while Devin Reilly was named the class Valedictorian. Reilly was a class officer, a member of the golf team, vice president of Interact, a writer for the yearbook and a member of many more groups.
"Who we are comes from who we have placed ourselves around," said Reilly, stressing the importance and value of friendships. The senior choir then sang a touching rendition of "Remember Me This Way."
The keynote speaker was teacher Joe Clement, a popular government and economics teacher at Chantilly.
"It is OK to wait," said Clement, that students don't need to know everything right away nor should they.
He also expressed his desire for the students to "listen to your conscience," quoting a good friend of his who said, "laws are for the small."
The students then all rose and sang, "Have I Told You Lately," thanking their parents for helping them through school and hard times. The song started off slow but the students belted out the ending in high style. Jason Klein said the song was chosen because "it sums up how we feel about our parents."
Heather DeMay received the Charger Award, an honor voted by the students for her dedication to the class.
Student Esther Chou, the graduation chair, gave a speech looking back on the trials and tribulations of the class of 2004, which included September 11th, the SARS epidemic, and the D.C. sniper.
For the senior class gift, Ben Steger, the class treasurer, said the senior class bought flat-screen televisions to be used in the school gymnasium and entrance lobby.
Tammy Turner then greeted students as they received their diplomas. She took the mic and stated that "there are only two things left to do." First she made the senior class' graduation official, then DeMay led the class in the turning of their tassels. Next, the students removed their hats and tossed them up in the air.
Despite the fear that the rain storm raging outside might knock out the power, the graduation went off without a glitch.