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Saying Goodbye to a ‘Great Place’


Woodson graduates challenged to remember.

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Woodson students file into the Henry M. Smith Field House at Robinson High School.

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Tom Ridge addresses the Woodson graduating class of 2013.

W.T. Woodson High School’s Class of 2013 gathered together for the final time Thursday, June 13 at Robinson High School’s Henry M. Smith Field House for its annual commencement ceremony. Students, faculty, family members, and distinguished guests were on hand to celebrate the culmination of the school’s 50th anniversary.

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Essa Ayoobi "I'm taking classes at NOVA in the fall, and in 10 years I hope to have a full time job in IT security."

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Spenser Copp "I'm going to the United States Military Academy in the fall, so in 10 years I hope to still be in the Army."

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Gaby Collins "I'm moving to Georgia next week, and going to Kennesaw State in the fall. In 10 years I plan on living on my own island in the middle of nowhere."

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Cristhian Andres Alcocer Salinas, an honor graduate, receives his diploma.

Timothy Patrick Gill was presented with the Senior Award, given each year to an outgoing senior in recognition of outstanding scholarship, leadership, citizenship and service to the school.

Justin Adamson, chosen as this year’s student graduation speaker, spoke to the numerous positive characteristics of his fellow Woodson Cavaliers, and ended his speech with a challenge.

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Caleb Brennan "I'll be attending Northeastern University in Boston in the fall, and in 10 years I'd love to work for a big tech company like Apple or Google."

“I challenge us all to remember each other, and to remember what it means to be a Woodson Cavalier. I challenge us to bring the same spirit of friendship, victory, caring, support and modesty that has helped us make Woodson a great place, forward to the rest of our lives. Look around. There are a lot of talented, gifted people sitting among us. The graduates of this class will go far, and it would do all of us a world of good not to forget our experiences here.”

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Rosie Barry "Next I'm going to East Carolina University, and in 10 years I want to be a music therapist."

The keynote speaker of the event was former Governor of Pennsylvania and former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. Ridge made a strong case for the graduating students to be responsible and active in their civic engagement. “Government is about tomorrow, and there are more tomorrows in your life than there are in mine,” he explained. “So if you remember nothing else from these remarks today, please accept your responsibility as a citizen to be an informed voter. Register R, register D, register as an independent; I don’t care where you go just as long as you keep your head in the game. … It’s not a privilege to vote, just accept that it’s a responsibility.”