Turning their tassels and tossing their caps into the air, nearly 500 Madison High students graduated last Wednesday, June 18, in Robinson Secondary School’s field house. And 118 of them were honor graduates, having earned a 4.0 GPA over all four years of school.
Citizenship awards were given to students Olivia Hartt and Tyler Chaput. Madison’s highest honor, the Faculty Award, went to Lexie Graham. According to Principal Mark Merrell, 94 percent of this year’s Madison graduates will go on to college. And, he added, “They received 600 scholarships worth in excess of $5 million.”
Before they left the security of high school, though, student speaker Lauren Bachmann gave them some sage advice. “A fascinating, new world lies before us and we owe it to ourselves to make the most of it,” she said. “Let’s get lost without losing ourselves.
“We have to look at the unfamiliar before we can objectively look at where we’ve been and where we’re going,” continued Bachmann. “The unknown scares us, but we should take this opportunity to dive into [it] and take risks.”
She told her classmates that their “Northern Virginia bubble” isn’t the only reality out there. “It’s our time to educate ourselves and become well-rounded and resilient human beings,” she said. “Embrace change, get lost in college, explore and find yourself again.”
Also speaking was economics teacher Andrew Foos, who also coaches swimming and diving at Madison and mentors new teachers. He and his wife have two children and a third on the way, but he told the students he considers all of them his children, as well.
“I care about you like you’re my own kids, and I spend more time with you [than with my own children] during the school year,” he said. “As a teacher, I serve on your parents’ behalf – and I take this responsibility seriously. I love my kids freely and unconditionally and I’d do just about anything for my students and athletes – you’re part of my tribe.”
When a person has that kind of attitude, said Foos, “You can change someone’s life in a profound way. So do what’s best for others; we want you to grow and develop into the best people you can be. Go into the world fearlessly, tackle challenges with courage and know that we’ll be there for you, no matter what.”
Furthermore, he said, “Seek out others who accept you for who you are and who’ll give of themselves for you. Thank you for all the times we’ve shared together, and the great memories, and may God bless you on your graduation.”