How Much Have We Lost?

Monday, June 21, 2010

The West Potomac Class of 2010

On Sunday afternoon, I attended the 24th graduation ceremony of my alma mater, West Potomac High School at the Patriot Center - the seventh one I have been able to attend.

It was kind of surreal to march near the head of the line after having played Pomp and Circumstance three times before in the Patriot Center as a student from 1985-1988 in the West Potomac Band.

After we got up on stage, and the rows started to fill in, I looked out and saw my old friend who played in a WePo brass quintet with me - Ben Nowak - who is now teaching Science. He was about five rows back on beach ball patrol at the end of his row. Assistant Principal Dale Eaton was working logistics, and I even saw my old 11th Grade English teacher Paul Russell sneaking around with no gown - doing his own thing true to form 20 years later.

I snapped this picture at the right while up on stage as the graduates were filtering in. the student speakers Christina Son talked about the embarassment of wrecking her dad's car (been there, done that), and while Madeline Dahl talked abstracted life to her classes. Class President Camilla Sanchez talked about being the first in her family to graduate high school, and Principal Cliff Hardison reeled off some impressive stats - $3.5 million of scholarships, 29,000 community service hours, 80% college bound.

West Potomac High School is pumping out some impressive graduates. Just last week, West Potomac was ranked the 523rd toughest high school in the United States by Newsweek Magazine based on the number of AP/IB tests given at the school divided by the number of graduates. That puts West Potomac High School in the top 1.9% in the United States.

I snapped this picture at the right just as they were declaring the students graduates. If you haven't attended a high school graduation in a while you should. The optimism, energy, and enthusiasm permeates the rooms at these events is contagious and really reminds you why we need to fight as hard as we can to ensure we get our fair share of resources so that these kids get the best preparation as possible for their next steps in life. I look forward to continue the fight.

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