Mountain View High Holds Winter Graduation

Mountain View High Holds Winter Graduation

Principal Catherine Stone gives advice to the students.

Jayvin Luangraj with his diploma from Principal Stone.

Jayvin Luangraj with his diploma from Principal Stone.

Mountain View High’s winter graduation may have been small, but it was still as warm and heartfelt as always. Held last Monday, Feb. 5, at Centreville High, it marked the school’s 55th commencement ceremony.

At the outset, Assistant Principal Kim Witeck told the graduating seniors, “You are resilient and strong. Our motto of Family, Love and Respect is living and breathing inside you.”

Principal Catherine Stone acknowledged the nonprofit Mountain View Foundation which awards thousands of dollars of scholarships to the grads each semester. She then addressed the seniors directly. “Class of 2024, this day is the culmination of years of school,” she said. “Take a look around – all these people are here to celebrate you.”

She noted that, earlier, she told the students to choose a moment they want to remember from their ceremony. “Maybe you want to remember walking in to ‘Pomp and Circumstance,’ listening to your classmate give her speech, walking across the stage to get your diploma, or walking out of the auditorium as a high-school graduate,” said Stone. “Maybe you want to remember the pride your family and friends express as they celebrate with you today, or the pride you have in yourself.” 

No matter what moments they chose, she said, “I hope you remember this feeling. You’ve worked hard to get here, and your journey wasn’t always the easiest. In fact, you may not have always believed graduation was in your future. Many of you said school hasn’t always been the best experience for you. You’ve each faced challenges during your time in school.”

Stone told them about a TED Talk video in which the speaker discussed the qualities that make a student more likely to be successful and graduate. After studying students and adults in a variety of challenging settings, the speaker concluded that the one characteristic that predicted success more than anything else is grit.

“She said grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals,” explained Stone. “Grit is having stamina and sticking with your future, day in and day out, for years – and working hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life as a marathon, not a sprint. Each of you has grit. You stuck with it, and you’ll have to stick with it for your future goals, too.”

She then urged the grads to remember that goals are important, and “even small ones help us get to where we want to be. Set a goal and follow it through to completion. You’re resilient and you now know you can’t focus on the challenge. You have to find a way to use it as a learning experience and move forward.”

Sometimes, said Stone, “When things aren’t going how you’d hoped, the best thing is to take a break – pause, take a deep breath, and when you’re ready, get right back to it.” She also reminded them that their family will always be there for them. “Family isn’t just blood relatives,” she added. “It’s the community you build for yourself, like the family you found at Mountain View. And treat everyone with love and respect. Remember, you get what you give.” 

“You can achieve great things when you work hard, are resilient despite the challenges, and believe in yourself,” continued Stone. “Remember today and how it feels to accomplish a goal you’ve worked hard for. You’ve each earned the diploma you’ll receive, so celebrate your success – but don’t forget to thank all the people who helped you along the way.”

Lastly, she advised the grads to never forget that “You’re important, you’re valued and you deserve success. Please stay in touch with us; we’ll always be here for you. We want to know how you’re doing and to continue to help you with your journey. That’s what families do. Congratulations, Class of 2024 – your Mountain View family is proud of you.”