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Hats Off to Chantilly High's Class of '07

With the Patriot Center decked out in purple and white, 650 Chantilly High School seniors graduated on June 15th. The class boasted more than 30 students with 4.0 GPAs, including three salutatorians, Eileen Foley, and Brittney and Rachel Koffer, who graduated with a 4.15 GPA.

The ceremony featured a performance of N Sync's "This I Promise You" by the senior chorus members, "Pomp and Circumstance" and "Chantilly Lace" by the symphonic orchestra, and speeches by Principal Jim Kacur and Social Studies Department Chair Phil Cronin, who was the keynote speaker.

"We taught you to discover and explore," said Cronin, who donned different hats during his speech to represent the roles he has played for the seniors throughout their high school career — coach, teacher and mentor. "It's important to try new things."

At the end of his speech, Cronin had a special treat for those attending the ceremony.

"When I win, I love hearing my favorite song," he said, and the symphonic band launched into The Big Bopper's "Chantilly Lace."

"You have proven that you can do anything you set your minds to," said Principal Kacur. "The next door is open and is waiting for you."

The graduates sat in neat rows, with the boys in purple gowns and the girls in white gowns. Throughout the entire ceremony, the ground floor of the Patriot Center resembled a purple and white postage stamp as the students listened to their fellow graduates and teachers give their speeches or present awards.

Arman Khoddami and James Kotula, the class president and vice president, gave the address of welcome and the introduction of distinguished guests. National Honor Society member Alexander Pepper gave the valedictory address, while class treasurer Shannon O’Malley introduced the keynote speaker. Class sponsors Kristin Dreyer and Meredith Norris presented the senior class members, and then Principal Kacur awarded the diplomas to the students.

The Patriot Center was nearly 75 percent full of family and friends who had come to see the class of 2007 start a new chapter in their lives.

"We are so proud," said Susan Rieder, the aunt of graduate Elizabeth Novak. "She is so full of life, the world is lucky to have her." Novak will be attending NOVA in the fall, where she is majoring in marketing.

"He's a very smart young boy and full of potential," said Rozh Mutabchi about his brother and graduate Rawaz Mutabchi, who will be majoring in architecture at George Mason.

In attendance at the ceremony were members of the Fairfax County School Board: Vice Chairman Kathy Smith, Springfield District Chairman Cathy Belter, members at large Stephen Hunt, Ilryong Moon and Janet Oleszek, and Cluster 7 superintendent Peter Noonan. The Chantilly Academy Air Force Jr. ROTC presented the colors, and the symphonic orchestra and choir were directed by Glenn Cockrell, Michael Fuchs, Aaron Mynes and Keith Taylor.

Assistant principals of the other classes, Debbie Santmyer (2008), Teresa Johnson (2010), and Kathleen Lynch (2009) were present at the ceremony. Other notable administrative figures were assistant principals Michael Burch, Dennis Worek, and John Vdovjak, Chantilly Academy Administrator Doug Wright, Director of Student Activities Terry Brown, and Director of Student Services Jay Bass.