Nearly 530 seniors received their diplomas in a Friday afternoon ceremony at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C.
Graduates were full of mixed emotions while lining up to receive their diplomas. Excited laughter filled the outer halls of Constitution Hall, while students nervously fiddled with tassels and robes.
“There’s anxiety for next year, sadness that I’m leaving, but it’s a new chapter and I’m excited,” said Giovanna Baptista. The 18-year-old said she will be attending Montgomery College in the fall.
Teachers who volunteered to help out at the graduation ceremonies mirrored their students' emotions.
“It’s very exciting,” said Brandi Richardson, Churchill teacher and cheer coach for five years. “Being with a class starting with freshman year and seeing them grow as adults through senior year – it’s satisfying.”
The Class of 2012 grew to be risk-takers and leaders, something that sets them apart from previous graduates, speakers said. Churchill was again recognized this year as a top school in the state and the country, ranking first in Maryland schools and 57 in the nation, .
A former beloved WCHS teacher, Michael Carroll took the stage to address the students as the afternoon's graduation speaker. He gave the students three pieces of advice to take with them into their futures: to look for truth everywhere, to earn and give respect and to never stop learning.
“All of life is about making choices. You will makes mistakes – learn from them,” he said. “Life is an essay that is constantly being written and rewritten.”
Recommending the Class of 2012 for graduation from the Maryland public education system, Dr. Joan Benz addressed her newly former students:
“I am so proud of you; I believe in you; congratulations,” she said.