Reston: Go Big, Class of 2016

Reston: Go Big, Class of 2016

Mark-Christian Dasig Laquindanum, Omar Laouini-De La Pena and Andy Ngan Lao enjoy their front row perspective to the rest of their lives.

Mark-Christian Dasig Laquindanum, Omar Laouini-De La Pena and Andy Ngan Lao enjoy their front row perspective to the rest of their lives. Photo by Ken Moore.

See more photos on Facebook.


Friday, June 17 was a picture perfect day for Madeleine Grace Cochrane and Rachael McPherson Buchner and the rest of the graduates from the class of 2016.


Class officers Erica Paige Slye, Kalista Gaelan Majoros, Eric Thomas Ottman and Nathan Thomas Campbell


Teachers selected Tanner Michael Asmussen, one of four students to be nominated, to earn one of the most prestigious awards at the ceremony.

“Think of this as the morning announcements for the rest of your life,” said senior Meaghan Elizabeth Nally, now a graduate of South Lakes High School Class of 2016.

“Go big, let’s go big,” said Nally. “Hashtag: 2016 Goes Big.”

“Squeeze out all there is to offer,” said Nally, who will play Division I soccer for Georgetown University in the fall. “If you fail, and fall flat on your face, so what?”

“Go big can mean anything,” said the National Honor Society student and International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme Candidate.

“Grab onto your dreams,” she said, “and friends and family, hold on for the ride.”

Nally saluted her hometown and its founder, Robert E. Simon.

“Thank you Mr. Simon for giving us such a wonderful place to live,” said Nally.

NALLY AND HER classmates graduated with diplomas at the South Lakes High School 2016 Commencement Ceremony held Friday, June 17, at George Mason University EagleBank Arena.

Assistant Principal Dana Walker delivered a message of his own. “Class of 2016, we are here to celebrate you and your accomplishments.”

Among the class of 2016 were students who graduated despite being homeless, students who are the first in their families to graduate, students who are the first in their families to enroll in college, in addition to honors students, athletes, scholars, artists, musicians and more, said Walker.

Principal Kimberly Retzer asked about a dozen graduates to stand who have made the decision to enter the military. She also asked the graduates to stand who had grade point averages above 4.0.

“Class of 2016, you matter and you will always be a big deal,” said Walker.

“Assist one another in tearing down the walls of injustice, intolerance and ignorance,” he said.

AMONG ASSISTANT Principal Dana Walker’s memorable lines:

“Set your own unique course and dare to be different.”

“Smiling is much easier than frowning.”

“Love is greater than hate.”

“Look beyond yourself and make great decisions.”

“One, show up on time,” he said.

“Two, always walk with a raised head,” he said, “yet do so with humility. “Three, Never look down on another person unless you are lifting them up.”

Finally, “Once a Seahawk, always a Seahawk,” he said.

Tiffanee Dykes was the keynote speaker Friday, June 17.

“I come to events like this and say to myself, ‘Girl, you are good. Did you just hear that bio she just read? I am fabulous.’”

“I know you are saying, ‘Who is this woman and who selected her to speak today,” said Dykes, now with the CIA.

She remembers feeling excited and a bit nervous when she graduated high school, “not that long ago,” she added.

“Be passionate,” she said, no matter what that may be about.

“Graduates, don’t be afraid to do something different. Stretch,” she said.

“The reality was, I never wanted to work for the CIA. My first reaction was, ‘Hell, no. Have you not seen the movies?’”

But she took the risk and has traveled the world and “made a contribution to the country I so dearly love. I decided to take the chance.”