For the valedictorians who spoke, graduation day at Fairfax High School meant thanking their parents, teachers and friends for the four-year journey. From their first orientation to the high school as eighth graders to the last exams and papers completed just several days ago, the student speakers said their time at Fairfax equipped them to take on the next stage in life, whether it meant going to college or joining the work force.
"Today, we're proving to everyone we're ready to take the next step," said valedictorian Michael Horvath during his address to his classmates. "... I challenge you today to continue that commitment of excellence."
ON TUESDAY, another 437 graduates passed through the doors at Fairfax. They represent diverse interests and more than 45 nationalities. Yet on Tuesday, they celebrated together not only the marking of a milestone, but the friendships they had developed throughout their scholastic careers.
Friends "taught you self-confidence, self-respect, how to be a better person," said valedictorian Scott McClure.
While the school congratulated all its graduates, it recognized several who made significant contributions to the school community. Fairfax principal Linda Thomson presented the Outstanding Senior Award to Amruta "Amy" Ghate, the Student Service Award to Olga Grosh, the Faculty Award to Abigail Thompson, and the Fairfax Award to Joonam Lee.
Class valedictorians were also recognized. They were Ashkay Bhatnagar, Erica Buckingham, Stephanie Contreras, Nicole Davila, Mary Kathleen Gallivan, Patrick Gallivan, Amruta Ghate, Olga Grosh, Kylie Halter, Michael Horvath, Kaitlin Kisela, Joonam Lee, Lisette Legaspi, Pranav Mankad, Scott McClure, Maria Moreno, Ellyce Morgan, Sarah Newman, Luan Nguyen and Christine Royer.
As the graduates-to-be marched up to receive their diplomas, proud families called their graduates on cell phones or snuck in a quick sideline picture.
"Class of 2004, it has been a pleasure to work with you. I wish you success and happiness on your next journey. Bon voyage," said valedictorian Olga Grosh.