Monday, June 6, 2016

School's out for the summer

The Class of 2016 graduated from Goochland High School on Sunday, June 5. Livestreamed from Charlottesville, the commencement ceremony was filled with love, joy, and optimism as this great bunch of kids runs headlong into the future.

Graduates are not the only departures from our schools. Superintendent Dr. James Lane, who is leaving Goochland for Chesterfield, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to with an amazing leadership team. “My four years in Goochland mean more to me than you will ever know,” said Lane.

High School Principal Michael Newman, who is retiring, explained that he and the class of 2016 were “new kids on the block” together when they entered GHS and learned their way around. Class officers presented Newman with a box containing a jigsaw puzzle comprised of a piece representing each graduate. “It’s a hard puzzle, it might take you four years to put it together,” the presenter quipped. A letter to Newman from each member of the class about the role he played in their life was also included.

The graduates contended that Newman is really leaving GHS because they are the best class and he wants to leave on a high note. “Mr. Newman understands that his job is not about building a resume or enforcing rules, it’s about the students. Today is the culmination of an inspiring man’s lifelong passion.” Newman was then honored with a standing ovation

Student speakers expressed gratitude to the teachers, parents, administrators and fellow students who contributed to their success. They encouraged each other to use their unique talents to improve the world, if only to better one little corner and acknowledged the value of the differing gifts of each member of the Class of 2016.

Newman told the class that it is ready to deal with the challenges of the next phase of their lives be it in the world of work, the military, or higher education. The class has differing gifts, giving each graduate a personal path to the satisfaction of a life well lived.

While the entire educational experience at GHS was celebrated, exceptional academic achievement was also recognized. Grade point averages of the top ten honor graduates ranged from 4.275 to 4.7271.

Keynote speaker Virginia General Assembly Delegate Lee Ware, whose 65th District includes western Goochland, urged the class to pay attention to the permanent things in life. Ware, a former teacher, recommend obedience to the unenforceable, those things that lie between freedom and law. The capacity for self-control “will stand you in good stead.” Words of wisdom for a world whose moral compass seems to be going haywire.

Godspeed Class of 2016, may your future be even better than your dreams!

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