An overcast morning did not put a damper on the enthusiasm of the 128 graduates, and their family, at Washington and Lee High School’s class of 2017 graduation. In their blue robes with tassels swaying the class marched in to the cheers of the gathered family and friends who filled the chairs, bleachers, and anywhere they could stand to watch their loved ones walk across the stage on the football field.
Guest speaker for the occasion was Rebecca Beale a 1992 graduate of Washington and Lee who is a science teacher at Montross Middle School. Beale taught physical science to the graduating class when they were 8th graders.
Beale spoke of the standards of life playing off of the acronyms SOLs that stands for Standards of Learning. SOLs standardized tests that students must pass throughout their school career. A number of them are required to graduate high school.
Class salutatorian, Nicholas Fones, who is heading to George Mason University and plans to become a physician, talked about the memories that they will carry with them as time goes on, those of friendships, “I will measure my time here in all the friendships I had the last four years. When many of our high school memories begin to fade that is how we will measure the time we have spent here. Not in blocks, semesters or years, but in friendships made and the time we spent together.”
Fones graduated from Rappahannock Community College with an Associate’s Degree prior to his high school graduation. Fones was not alone in this as Alexia Lambert also graduated from RCC with an Associate’s Degree.
Valedictorian, Claire D Whitman, presented her coach Cole Vanover with a customized bobble head from her and some of her classmates. Whitman is planning on attending Virginia Commonwealth University with plans to become a pediatrician.
The class of 2017 earned more thant $600,000 in scholarships from not only local community organizations, but also their colleges. Graduate Jessica-Anne Smith brought in the most scholarships with more than $100,000 in funding. She is planning on going to Virginia Tech and majoring in Chemistry.