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Goodbye, Grads

Woodson High School conducts June 16 graduation ceremony.

Look in front of the mirror and do some soul searching. That was one piece of advice guest speaker Oscar Wiygul gave W.T. Woodson High School seniors during the June 16 commencement ceremony.

"Why can't you be passionate about what you do, your choices?" asked the Woodson parent, one of nine Wiyguls to graduate from Woodson over the years. "My challenge for you, Class of 2004, is to get involved in every important decision in your life."

As the graduating seniors marched into the Robinson Secondary Field House last week, speakers encouraged them to discover their passions and interests, and through that, work toward living a fuller life.

For graduating senior Raymond John, chosen to give the charge to the class, that meant finding goals and going for them.

"I challenge all of you to never sell yourself short," Raymond said. "Don't let anyone stop you from aiming high."

Raymond likened life to soccer, a game he plays often. Like life, being on a soccer team has meant dealing with losses and working with teammates.

"Try to remember the people who have impacted our lives, for better and for worse," said Raymond, as he thanked his parents.

He added that being on a soccer team has also meant learning to contribute to the outcome of a match.

"What kind of impact do you want to make? Just remember, everyone counts," Raymond said.

WHILE MANY of the graduation speeches focused on setting goals for the future, another dominating sentiment was to thank family and friends who had packed themselves into the auditorium.

"I really like these robes. They make me look regal," said graduating senior Tyler Campbell, prefacing the farewell address.

Tyler had been listening to others talk about the future for weeks before graduation. On that Wednesday, Tyler said he just wanted to stop and savor the moment.

"I care about these last four years. I want to think about my friends right now," Tyler said. "I care that I have five beach balls strategically hidden in my body."

Before graduates received their diplomas, Woodson recognized several students for their contributions to the school and the community. Jennifer Nelson received the Service Award, Ashley Banks got the Leadership Award, Grant Miller received the Faculty Award, and The School Award went to Michael Neri.

Jody d'Alelio received the Christopher Marshall Award, after being nominated by her classmates. The award honors an outstanding member of the graduating class and is named after a Class of 1980 alumnus known for his sense of humor and concern for others.

Honor graduates, students who had earned a final grade point average of 4.0 or higher over the past four years, were Peter Andre, Danya Atiyeh, Andrew Beck, Rachel Becker, Elizabeth Cunningham, Richard Cutts, David Donnelly, Elizabeth Eckels, Kayla Feller, Christopher Hain, Joanna Herrmann, Raymond John, Katie Johnson, Benjamin Linfield, Grant Miller, Jennifer Nelson, Michael Neri, James Rowan and Elissa Williams.