Dominion High School’s graduation was deeply rooted in fairly new traditions. Principal John Brewer welcomed students, faculty, parents and friends to the school’s football stadium for the Class of 2007’s ceremony Friday, June 22.
Before the school opened in 2003, Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick reminded students of a dream team, made up of teachers and staff and some of the students in the audience who had a vision. Aside from selecting a mascot, the Titan, and coming up with the school’s colors, black and silver, the group wanted the new school to be involved with its community.
For four years, teachers, principals and guidance counselors pushed students to get out into their community and they did. Brewer called out the names of students he said he was truly proud of for doing just that and for overcoming obstacles they faced during their four-year stay.
"We hope you will take that knowledge and make the world an even better place," Hatrick said. "You have laid a foundation that others will build upon."
DENISE WINGFIELD, a science teacher at Dominion High School, upheld another Titan tradition Friday morning. Last year, Dominion’s team of faculty and staff began "Titan Up Fridays." The school’s faculty dressed up in polos and jeans on the last day of the school week. In exchange, the teachers donated loose change to a glass jar in the main office. That loose change resulted in two $800 scholarships.
Christopher Brent and Bethany Segar were presented the faculty scholarships based on their commitment to Titan athletics, activities and their involvement with their communities.
"These two people were chosen because they embrace life," Wingfield said. "They are natural leaders."
ANOTHER TITAN LEADER, Jennifer Mak, congratulated her fellow students for surviving high school. Mak, the Class of 2007’s valedictorian, did so with flying colors. She received a 4.4 grade point average and will attend the University of Virginia in the fall.
Like Mak, student speaker Saadhi Khan admitted high school was tough. The award-winning scientist attributed her success to her parents, teachers and friends.
"Today truly is a day to honor all," she said.
Over the years, Khan said her teachers and fellow students became her second family.
"Family doesn’t necessarily mean chromosomes and DNA," she said.
Khan said she will be forever bonded to teachers and students she worked with, at 6:30 a.m. science fair meetings, and long hours after school.
ONE OF THOSE teachers, Maria James concluded the ceremony with a few words of advice. Another Dominion High School tradition is to "keep it in the family," Brewer said. The seniors selected James to deliver their keynote address.
"We started together in August 2003," the math teacher said.
James went on to list memorable powder puff games and spirit days, and when the Class of 2007 beat last year’s seniors during their spirit week.
"Our experiences together have been priceless," she said, choking back tears.
James said she will miss seniors stopping by her classroom to ask for math help or talk about upcoming games and activities. She encouraged her students, once they leave Dominion High School, to keep up the same attitude, talk to a stranger and make friends at new schools or the grocery store or the post office.
"Keep an open mind, an open heart and it will open doors," she said. "It will be a truly rewarding experience."