Centreville's graduating seniors walked side by side through two trellises before being seated in the Patriot Center at George Mason University on Tuesday, June 21. As Centreville's Symphonic Band began playing "Pomp and Circumstance," directed by Elisabeth L. Boivin, students searched the crowd for familiar faces. Friends and family members communicated back with a mixture of hops, shakes and attention-grabbing screams. In the meantime, security guards searched for fog horns and balloons — the first interferes with hearing announcements, while the second is notorious for clogging air-vents.
AS THE CROWD began to simmer down, Senior Class administrator Sterry McGee — who will be retiring this year — welcomed all in attendance to the commencement. Nearly unnoticed, the Centreville High School Choral Department, directed by Lynne Babcock, began performing the "The Star-Spangled Banner," after which Jenna Jablonski led in saying the "Pledge of Allegiance."
Awards Committee Chairperson Stephanie Holt then approached the podium to announce that Adam North was Centreville High's Faculty Award winner.
"[North] takes on the most rigorous courses a large competitive high school has to offer," said Holt. "He has a keen sense of humor and proportion."
She went on to say that "North was editor in chief of Centreville's student newspaper, he has been active in student government, and [is] a very successful swimmer." North was also a National Honor Society member and valedictorian of his graduating class.
He accepted his award and immediately introduced Peter Noonan, first-year principal at Centreville High School, who then presented the Class Address.
"I have had, without a doubt, the most rewarding year of my professional career this past year at Centreville," said Noonan. "[The class of 2005] has been extraordinary, wonderful, caring, kind and generous."
After presenting Centreville's 10 valedictorians, Noonan handed the stage over to Senior Class Board Member Jenna Jablonski to present the class gift. Jablonski then presented him a $1,500 check that she said could be used to "revise the reception area in [Centreville's] front office" — an area that apparently "could look a little friendlier."
Sarah Lucas and Meghan Jaeger then stepped on stage, accompanied by Rebekah Goldman on the piano, to perform a duet called "For Good."
A SLIDE SHOW, created by Jenna Jablonski and Aaron Street was then presented by Senior Class Board Member Andrew Murray, who is also a National Honor Society member, Valedictorian of Centreville and an AP Diploma recipient.
Next, the Centreville High Choral Department, co-directed by Elisabeth L. Boivin and Lynne Babcock, began playing "America the Beautiful," after which Senior Class Board Member Leyla Serway introduced social studies teacher Karen Saunders who gave the Commencement Address.
Saunders quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, and America's second first lady, Abigail Adams, making it clear that she is a teacher of American history. "Graduation is a defining moment in your life upon which your future depends," said Saunders, who later expressed her faith that this class would go on to achieve great success.
After Saunders' speech, Senior Class Sponsors Andrew Dugger and Pamela Young rose to commence the Presentation of Candidates. Noonan began handing diplomas to the 425 seniors who were filling the lower aisles of the Patriot Center in alphabetical order.
Students crossed the stage, shook Noonan's hand, reached for their diplomas and walked away.
The crowd's enthusiasm peaked as Bruce Josefson — severely injured in a horrendous car accident last November — walked across the stage to receive his diploma. Despite security's best efforts, fog horns were used in full force, but nobody seemed to mind.
UPON COMPLETION of the Presentation of Diplomas, Senior Class Board Member and AP Diploma recipient Ian Hurdle gave the Farewell Address. After emphasizing the importance of cultivating strong relationships, and maintaining those relationships, he said: "Don't let your drive to be successful get in the way of what truly matters [in your life]."
The Symphonic Band, directed by Elisabeth L. Boivin, concluded the ceremony with a fitting performance of the "Grand Processional" as graduation caps were flung into the air.