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Atholton High School 2018 Commencement Ceremony

Merriweather Post Pavilion | May 31, 2018 | 11:00 AM

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Note: This live transcription of the commencement ceremony was provided by Recapd.

♪ [ “Pomp and Circumstance” by Sir Edward Elgar] – [APPLAUSE]

Good morning and welcome, students and staff members, to this year passed graduation ceremony – this year’s graduation ceremony. Thank you to the wind and – ensemble. Before we begin this morning, we ask each of you to silence your cell phones. Now please rise for the presentation of the colors. Please remove your hats and remain standing for the national anthem of the posting of the colors. Please continue standing until the color guard has left the stage. ♪ [“The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key] [APPLAUSE]

Thomas: Thank you and please be seated. Thank you to the JROTC color gua rd, and the members of the high school choir program. I would like to introduce our honor to guests. – our honored guests.

Atholton High School is pleased to knowledge our special guests. We think each of them for taking this time to share in the special occasion and invite them to stand for recognition as their names are called. Please hold your applause until all guests are introduced. Ms. Cynthia L. Vaillancourt.

Sandra H. French.

Dr. Michael Matarino.

Karalee Turner Little.

Joanne Hutchens, principal for it – principal. [APPLAUSE]

Ms. Hutchens has been serving as the assistant principal of Oakland Mills middle school and for the past 15 years, she has served as principal in several schools including Atholton Highschool. She has a passion for art and teaching students. Throughout her career, she has been able to inspire and support her friends and staff. She is excited to begin her retirement and travel more, she is also looking forward to spending time in the sun and the beach. She will truly be missed. [APPLAUSE]

The Honorable Vanessa B. Adderberry.

HOnerorable Eric Eddersall.

Honorable Terry HIll.

Honorable Sherry Pendergrass.

Honorable Clarence Lamb.

Honorable Mary Kay Sigaty.

The Honorable Frank Turner.

The Honorable Dr. Calvin Ball.

The Honorable Jen Terrasa.

Mr. Larry Cohen, former member of the Board of Education. [APPLAUSE]

Mr. Frank Eastham.

Mr. Rafu Alhili.

Mr. Gehantab Jahiki.

Ms. Marcy Leonard.

Mr. Jason McCoy.

Ms. laura Peter.

Mr. Jeff Bisher. Ms. Kathleen Clark.

Ms. Adrienne Nasir.

Mr. Patrick Sible.

Mr. MIchael Sinnissi.

Ms. Sharon Cantor. She spent the last 16 years of this career at Atholton Highschool where she has taught students in academic and life skills classes. Her students have been near and dear to her heart and she has touched the lives of many students and families who described her as kind, patient, caring, positive, and thought fall. For the – thoughtful. For the past to six years, she helped to establish a club that helps students with and without disabilities. Ms. Canter looks for unique gifts and all of her students and celebrates the unique qualities and helps them to move forward. Atholton Highschool has been fortunate to have such a dedicated and inspiring teacher. [APPLAUSE]

Mr. Gregory Dubach, science teacher, retiree. Today we celebrate the culmination of 40 years of teaching. He began his career teaching fourth grade and fifth grade at Edinburg Mela mentor school – at Ed inburgh elementary school. He moved on to Dunloggin Middle School and eighth-grade science. Yes, Science. Finally, he dazzled at 13-year-olds with his physical science for over 19 years before a single year of six grade science led him to flee to Atholton Highschool. We’ve had the pleasure of 12 years with him in physics and AP physics. He put our math to use, he made us more attractive to university recruiters, we learned how stuff works, we learned why the sky is blue and how to make small explosions. And most importantly, how to get out of a black hole. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]

Ms. Robin Townsend, World Languages teacher, retiree. She received her degree from Western Maryland College, now MCDANIEL and spent several years working in the federal government and a travel agent. Her students have learned her seemingly endless patience and a sweet reward for a job well done. One year, she was presented at teacher with “everything must agree.” Her classroom has produced one marriage and launch the successful acting career of another. In addition, she has sponsored the Jewish student Union and the Spanish national honor Society and is offered up many Tuesday afternoons with a Spanish tutor. Similar to your motto, everyone surely agrees that you will be greatly missed. We wish you all of the best.

Finally, we think – thank the Atholton Highschool staff and families to celebrate our special occasion. [APPLAUSE]

Jack: now performing car – are CJ Kim and Sophie Lasher, two musicians who continued their studies at Towson University and Belmont University. Performing their original arrangement of Bob Dylan’s “forever Young”, please welcome them. [APPLAUSE] ♪ [ “forever Young” by Bob Dyla n] [APPLAUSE]

Four years.

5040 hours.

It has been a minutes.

How do you measure these four years.

Some measure them in daylights, and sunsets, and midnights, and cups of coffee.

How will we remember?

We will remember the little things starting with –

Freshman year.

The year of learning to shove your way through the mosh pit.

Running the pacer test one final time.

All: Sophomore year.

540 to go.

Gaping at Ms. Barb’s traumatic drivers Ed videos. Doing the raider rumble as we share face paint.

All: Junior year.

We expect over 13 million seconds of school.

And drink as many cups of coffee.

Rolling of the school and our mom’s minivans.

We were too cool for backpacks.

All: Senior year.

Watching the clock ticking down to this very day.

I am pretty sure half of us are on a first name basis.

We never missed the second of prom this dimity’s.

– prom festivities.

We will not forget the camaraderie of all late-night study sessions.

In the sense of solidarity win the teachers passed by.

Looking back, it seems like a lot of time.

We did the math.

Based on an average lifetime, our time at Atholton Highschool was only 1% of our lives.

Imagine how much we can accomplish in a lifetime.

Congratulations class of 2018, we made it.

In a few years, we will trade these classes for conferences, sweatpants for suits, and hall passes for ID badges.

All: It is only a matter of time. [APPLAUSE]

Our next performers are members of the talented dance program. Holly and Alejandra have both been dancing since they were young. Holly will be a commercial dance major, and our – and Alejandra dedicating their dance to ms. Haf Please welcome Molli Anne Ng and Alejandra Torres. [APPLAUSE] ♪ [APPLAUSE]

Life is like Simon says. It all started when your mom said to the action. When Mr. Scott said to the action, you did the action. What action will you do on your own?

Our whole lives, we been told where to go and what to kn do. After today, who will you listen to? Social media, your friends or family or yourself? After today, you have to realize that you have the authority to do any action that society feels you should accomplish.

Whether to work that 9:00 to 5:00 or call your dreams, to be married at 23 or explore life on your own or take that gap year to figure things out, you now have the choice to make for your self.

Let’s not forget the people who helped us to be where we are today.

That tough teacher that made the paper due at 11:59 on game night or your parents who made you clean the house before you can leave to go to the party.

Your counselor calling you down every fourth period to remind you of your graduation requirements or that one custodian who gave you the advice you never thought you needed. It’s nothing but a game of Simon says.

Yet, it is up to us to decide whether messing up in the game is to quit or give up or continue to play but smarter. [APPLAUSE]

This thing with guests, – distinguished guests, welcome to Atholton high school 2018 commencements or money – commencement ceremony. We are pleased to have so many honored guests among us this morning. I would like to include Delegate Pendergrass and County executive Kittleman is sorry he cannot be here today. He sent his best wishes to the class of 2018. At this time, I would like to introduce a familiar face to share inspiring words. He comes to our school once a month to give a short motivational speech to our students during morning announcements. We invite him today to give you one more speech. [APPLAUSE]

Well, look at you. Good for you. Good afternoon Atholton Raiders class of 2018. Welcome to graduation day, Thursday, May 31. I hope you all are doing well. Congratulations. You did it. This is a very big day for all of you. Thank you so much for the opportunity and the privilege to have gotten to know you over the past four years. I want you to know how honored I am for you welcoming me into your school and into your lives. I very much appreciate that. You are all very special to me. You made me feel part of the Atholton family. I also want you to know that I’m so proud of you, each and every one of you, not only for your accomplishments and achievements, but even more so for the fine young ladies in Yelm and you are – and gentlemen you are. Parents, thank you for the wonderful young people you have sent us. Good job. To Mrs. Hutchens and the Atholton staff, thank you for what you’ve done for these young students. You should be very proud of your job. To the graduates, what can I say? today,, it is all about you. You are here. I would like to think about remember something. In life, there are some people who sit on the sidelines or watch things happen and don’t do very much. Please don’t be that type of person. Then, there are some people who sit on the sidelines and let things happen. Don’t be that type of person, either. Then there are some people who take control of their lives and make things happen and make a difference. That’s the kind of person I would like each and every one of you to be. You can all do that. That is a choice. It always comes down to choice. I have confidence in each one of you to make that choice and to make positive things happen. Making things happen is not only an individual effort, it is a team effort. In this case, today, graduation day, your team celebrates with you. Parents, family members, teachers, friends and other staff members all the way back from elementary school through Atholton high school and the stars of the show today, each and every one of you. Now, for the very last time, special from me to you, the Atholton class of 2018, live and unplugged, my closing comments. [APPLAUSE]

Thank you. Work hard. Never give up. Maintain your sense of humor. You will always need that. Use your time wisely. Always do your very best. Have a good positive attitude. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities. Be honest with yourself and others. Respect yourself and others. Always be in control of your attitude, actions and behaviors. Think before you act and think before you react. Be nice and kind to each other. Follow through on your commitments and responsibilities. Use good judgment. Make good choices. Keep your body and mind healthy and strong and always keep love in your heart. Stay healthy. Be careful out there. As always and most importantly, because we all love you and care about you, please come home safely to your family and friends everyday. A couple of special added comments for the class of 2018. No matter where you go from here, my hopes and wishes are, may you always be safe, may you always be healthy, may you always be happy. May your dreams and hopes of today become your realities of tomorrow. May there always be more laughs and tears – than twoears. May you always treat others the way you want to be treated. May you always have the courage, strength and ability to move forward and media challenges. – meet new challenges. May you make a positive difference in the world. Finally, may your story continue and may the best yet to come. Thank you for listening. Have a great day. Congratulations again. Love to you all. And of course, keep smiling. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]

Thank you for always a staying connected to the community fromor so many years. I want to thank my administrative team. Their leadership, friendship and and less support has been a gift – endless support has been a gift to me. I can never thank you enough for all that you’ve given me. Thank you. We would also like to thank our graduation court Nader – coordinator for pulling this together and making everything moved so smoothly. Thank you for your hard work. We appreciate your endless efforts. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE]

Thank you. I would like to recognize all the staff of Atholton, their hard work has been instrumental in helping our graduates get to where they are today. Thank you for what you do on a daily basis. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]

Parents, where would we be without you? I want to thank you for all of your support over the past three years. You have welcomed me with open arms and I value your friendship that we have developed. Our know you have a great sense of pride this morning and I’m right there with you. Take this moment and treasure it. You have earned it. You did a wonderful job. Thank you for letting us get to know your children. Class of 2018, will you please take a moment to acknowledge her parents and let them know how much you value what they’ve done – your parents and let them know how much you value what they’ve done? [APPLAUSE]

Thank you. Now, for the graduates, it is truly an honor to stand before you this morning and congratulate you on today’s accompaniment. – accomplishment. You are an amazing group of young men and women and you have certainly made a difference for our school and to me personally. I’ve always been one to share my ideas and actions instead of words. I only have three pieces of advice. The first one is to love what you do. You are starting to figure out what fields you want to go into and what you want to do for the rest of your lives. Some people learn right away what they want to do and they go after it. Others take time and figure it out. Some go in one direction and find a need to go to a different path. All of these are fine. If you love what you do, you will find joy everyday. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to work. When you work, the day is over, it doesn’t feel like work. You are rewarded with satisfaction that you made a difference and you accomplished something and you build relationships that will last a lifetime. I get up every morning and go to school where I get a chance to work with you to get to know you, to listen to you and to watch you grow in so many ways. You are why I love what I do and you bring me a lot of joy. The second thing I want to share with you, take action. You already know this. Everything you have accomplished, every story you are connected to, every person you admire, and results in someone taking action. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Take action. Your education, your careers, all need you to put forth effort and act. Whether it is a small thing like helping a stranger or something larger like standing up for your beliefs, remember, always take action. As a class, you have set out to make things better. I know you will continue to make courageous changes in the future and others will benefit from your efforts. You have a choice to be passive or to take action. If previous experiences speak for themselves, I know you will take action, and for that, I’m very proud of you. Finally, the most important one is to don’t let anyone take your shine. Your drive, your leadership, your intelligence, your commitment to what is right make you all special. Your conscientious, respectful, passionate and involved. There is no doubt in my mind that our feature – future is bright because it is in your hands. I’m confident you will make the world a better place because of what I’ve seen you do each day over the past three years. Don’t let anybody take that from you. You radiate strength. You have compassion and you shine from within. Thank you for lending – lighting up my life and letting me see your brilliance. To me, you will always shine. [APPLAUSE]

It has been one of my greatest joys to work with you over these past three years. You have been a highlight of my career. I’m honored that we’ve had this time together. Take pride in how far you’ve come and have faith in how far you will go. You are also very successful and I’m fortunate to get to know you as a class and as individuals. Thank you for the positive impact you’ve had on Atholton’s community and your contributions to our tradition of excellence. My personal best wishes to each one of you. I cannot wait to congratulate you as you walk across the stage. You have earned this. Give yourselves a round of applause. [APPLAUSE]

Today, we are pleased to have the chairman of the Board of Education, member of the Board of Education, Howard County Public Schools interim superintendent to certify an award the diplomas to the Atholton high school class of 2018. As principal of Atholton, I hereby certify that the graduates have met all the requirements for graduation set forth by the Howard County Public School System and by the Maryland State Department of Education. They are eligible to receive Maryland high school diploma certificate of completion, certificate of attendance or certificate of achievement. It is now my honor to introduce our interim superintendent. [APPLAUSE]

Mr. Martirano: you are my favorite class right now. You are fantastic. My daughter, Maria Martirano, graduated from Atholton in 2005. You absolutely look marvelous. This is our 12th graduation. This afternoon will complete our 13th, including Cedar Lane. I’m proud of how our community shows up for all of our events. All of our elected officials, all of our dignitaries who are here to support you. Recognizing all of our young people are at the center of our thoughts. I have watched you this year, I’ve been at your school several times, I’ve followed your accomplishments and accolades and I’m most proud of you. I’m remiss because I’m a little disappointed that one of your most important accolades and accomplishments has not been publicly acknowledged. It’s troubling, it’s extremely troubling. I want to acknowledge it now. You’re welcome for knowledge in this – acknowledging this. Ladies and gentlemen, the class of 2018 has received seven inclement weather days this year. [APPLAUSE]

Thank you for that applause. All of that came from students and not from parents. One of those days was even a wind day. The parents are laughing right now. All those emails you sent me. I will answer those over the summer, I promise. [LAUGHTER]

In all seriousness, what I have also found during those times, many of these young people are masters at meteorology, predicting the weather. They hit me up on my twitter account. A week before a snow event, storm forming in Colorado, closes school now – close school now. #IMSCARED. [LAUGHTER]

Someone took a picture of ice from their refrigerator and said “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. Close school now.” Very creative. [LAUGHTER]

In all seriousness, I have a brief moment in your life to make an impact and make some words that you will hopefully remember. There’s no question that your principal just certified to the Board of Education and myself that you have met all the requirements of the state of Maryland for graduation, and that is an auspicious accomplishments. What I ask you now, young people, I’ve been talking about specific values and character traits, I’m asking you to be kind, I’m asking you to be compassionate and I’m asking you to plant seeds of care everywhere you go. I’m asking you to use the word “love.” To annihilate hate. All across our nation, we hear so much hate rhetoric and so many acts of hate. I’m asking all of you to be those champions of change as you move forward. Use those skills to change the world. Recognizing that with care, kindness, compassion and love, that will truly change the world. You will be remembered for that. Young people – [APPLAUSE]

Thank you. Young people, recognize I’m real close to standing between the main event of the distribution of our diplomas, but Miss Sandra French will impart some additional words of wisdom. I want to thank you for making me a better person for the opportunity to watch you grow and learn and I’m so proud of you that I cannot keep the smile off my face. I can’t wait to shake hands with each one of you. Congratulations. I’m so proud of each and every one of you. [APPLAUSE]

Good morning. Atholton high school, on behalf of the Board of Education, congratulations. It seems like only yesterday to your parents, but it was in 2005 that Howard County’s class of 2018 began. Perhaps you were among them when 2641 students entered kindergarten. As you grew in size, you grew in numbers. Another 4000 students joined you. A 56% increase. We need to send this data to the State Department. This year, about 4117 seniors will walk down this stage to receive their diplomas and certificates. This week, you will be receiving many graduation gifts from family and friends. Howard County citizens have gifted you all along. Great schools like Atholton don’t just happen. They are created and sustained through the combined efforts of your talented educators. They engage students like you, involved families – involve families and a community that values education and demonstrates that commitment by providing the necessary resources. Between 2005 and today, $169,481 was invested in each one of you for your educational success. This is a wonderful tradition of our democracy that American citizens support a free and public education for all children. Atholton graduates, I’ve witnessed this year your wonderful activities, so I know you have used this gift wisely. While you have managed to have some fun along the way, you’ve worked hard for 13 years to successfully complete your public school career. Many of you have plans to leave this nurturing community, this bubble, to pursue your dreams. As you do, reach out to others as openhearted as you have to each other at Atholton. Remember that you can pursue your dreams here in Howard County. So, when you decide to settle down, preferably employed, come back, join us not as our children, but as our peers. Enrich our community with your skills and creativity. If you establish roots elsewhere, keep the community of Howard County in your hearts. Remember us as an extended family that valued each one of you and make your educational opportunity our number one priority. Wherever you go, reach out to the next generation of students. Invest in them your tax dollars. More important, invest your time and many talents. With your diploma, I hand you a charge. Continue this American tradition, create a haven of safety and love where all children are treasured and where success in education is counted one Atholton Raiders at a time. Congratulations. Now, let’s begin. [APPLAUSE]

the graduates respectfully request guests hold up laws, so every family had the opportunity to hear their child’s Name.

Mrs. French, please allow the following Howard County Public School System staff members to award diplomas. Lisa Clearfield, Atholton High School. Samantha Meyer Clearfield. JoAnn cohi, Clarksville Middle School and Mike cohi, Howard High School. Michaela Lee coi hi/ . Andrea Collins, Swansfield Elementary School. Shay Patrick Collins. Paul Courtney, Marriotts Ridge High School. Sarah Olivia Courtney. [APPLAUSE] Paula Dickerson, Talbott Springs Elementary School. Kayla Nicole Dickerson. [APPLAUSE] Donna alshaffy. Adam alshaffy. Lisa Viglaudi. Cheryl Viglaudi. Judy Jayquiss, harpers J middle school. Justin Elliot Jayquiss. [APPLAUSE]

Mary Lasher, Clarksville Middle School. Sophie Rose Lasher. [APPLAUSE]

Jennifer Leckner, Gorman Crossing Elementary School. Naomi Iris Leckner. [APPLAUSE] Michelle Lutz, Oakland Mills middle school. Alexander Zachary Lutz. [APPLAUSE] Cecilia McDonald, Hammond high school. Milan Kennedy McDonald. [APPLAUSE]

Toana Curry, Depp Run elementary school. Brandon Myers. Andrea Missner, office of safety and security. Nathan Paul Missner. [APPLAUSE] Monique Flore es, harpers choice middle school. Madison Christina Sally. [APPLAUSE] Aaron Schorder, Dayton Oaks Elementary School. Ashley Nicole Schroeder. Alicia Matthews, veterans elementary school. Deija Tyleel Scott. At this time we welcome Emily Gell, senior class president, to the podium.

Congratulations Atholton class of 2018. [APPLAUSE]

My name is Emily and it has been my honor serving as your senior class president this past year. I would take a moment to thank all students, staff and families who helped make today possible. As we graduate, I hope you all fondly remember the past four years and I wish nothing but the greatest success for each and everyone of you in the future. At this time I ask for the class of 2018 to please stand for the turning of the tassel.