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Votes

Keep Repaying Debt

Graduates have a debt to pay for all of the support they received in high school.

Superintendent of Schools Edgar Hatrick decided against giving advice to the Park View High School Class of 2005.

He said the graduates would be getting plenty without him piling it on. “I don’t have additional advice, but I do have a request,” he said Tuesday. “You never forget where you come from. You remember those that guided and supported you along the way.”

VALEDICTORIAN BRIAN BAIRD said he and his classmates owe a lot to their families, friends, teachers, coaches and volunteers who made an impact on their lives. “It may be hard to repay such a debt,” he said. “What can we possibly do?”

He said the students already have begun. “A huge percentage of us participated in school-service projects,” he said. “But it didn’t stop there. Our willingness to volunteer and help others spilled over into the community as a whole.”

Baird said the seniors volunteered as a way to make the world a better place.

“As much as today is about remembering the past, it is also about the future, about what we are yet to accomplish,” he said. “We are the future.”

Principal Anne Brook said the college and university bound graduates will be taking $328,000 in scholarships with them. Among the 289 seniors, three will be joining the armed forces.

Like Baird, she recognized the students’ volunteer efforts. She also said this year’s senior class comprised some of most talented writers, musicians, actors, technicians, photographers, athletes and sportsmen.

“It seems to me that there are so many enduring friendships,” she said. “They know how to have fun too.”

THE GRADUATES found themselves cutting up during the ceremony. As a camera panned rows of caps and gowns, seniors chuckled as their classmates gave thumbs up, smiles, hand waves, hugs and other gestures. After the keynote speaker, Northern Virginia Community College president Robert Templin, spoke of terrorism, the students settled down. He predicted it would continue to be an ever present danger.

He painted a picture of the future, advising the class not to close the door of opportunity to immigrants even if there is pressure along those lines. “We must not, you must not, allow those doors to be closed,” he said.

Templin said jobs will change dramatically. “Half of you will enter careers that don’t even exist.”

“I have a piece of advice: when you continue your learning and you enroll, go to class,” he said.

The graduates laughed heartily. If the students complete two years of college, they will add $250,000 to their earnings, he said. For every year thereafter, another $150,000 will be added.

He reminded the class that the rungs on a ladder are for climbing, not for sitting. Citing Ralph Waldo Emerson, he said, “Do not go where the path may lead, but go where there is no path and leave a trail.”