Seniors of James Madison High School entered the Robinson Secondary School basketball gym to the customary “Pomp and Circumstance” with the orchestra led by conductor Erin Eberly on Saturday, June 8.
The members of the Class of 2013 were all present and the James Madison High School Madrigals sang the national anthem led by choral director Claire Rowan. Senior Dustin Stahl was given the task of speaking to his classmates. “What we can control and knowing what we cannot control will make us better people and help us achieve our goals,” he said.
Stahl then recognized the distinguished guests that included Del. Mark Keam (D-35), Assistant Superintendent James Kacur and Fairfax County School Board Division councilwoman Anne Murphy.
Martin Romeo, a physics teacher at James Madison High School and a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was a keynote speaker. Orating to the crowd in the format of a class lesson plan, Romeo offered college tips. “You got to want it for yourself,” he said, speaking about good academic performance. “You will all be challenged, mentally, morally, religiously, politically all the ‘—lys’ you can think of. Live your priorities out.” When his final lesson ended, the Madrigals once again took the stage.
They sang an a cappella version of Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s “In My Life.” Honor graduates who had a cumulative 4.0 grade point average for their entire high school tenure were recognized and given subsequent applause. A basket of diplomas was handed to Robert Gambarelli, director of Student Services.
Finally, the diplomas were handed out to the seniors with Principal Mark Merrell reading their names and Gambarelli handing the diplomas. Merrell announced that each senior will receive a long stemmed rose “as a symbol of hope that you [the students] will practice good judgment in college and beyond.” The last name was called and the conclusion had arrived, but not without some of the seniors own contribution to the ceremony.
Before the class had the opportunity to turn their tassels, a few seniors bounced around some beach balls they had snuck in to the gymnasium. Faculty and other staff members stopped the prank and the class was declared officially graduated.
The graduating class consisted of over 400 students with 94 percent college bound.