Graduation Day: Farewell Class of 2018

Nyasha Marufu, Staff Writer

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This year’s graduation was something very special. The Class of 2018 filled DAR Constitution Hall with a large amount of excitement as their families looked on with pride.

The graduation started with a speech from the senior class sponsor Ms. Hardin. After that, the Paint Branch High School Symphonic Band played a graduation standard, “Pomp and Circumstance” by Sir Edward Elgar, while the graduates and staff filed into the seating area. After everyone was seated, the NJROTC presented the colors and the Jazz Singers performed the National Anthem with plenty of pride.

Senior Class President Stephan Agyepong began the program with an impressive speech about his high school experience and his plans for the future, which include a full academic scholarship to Morehouse College. The Jazz Singers then performed another great song, “The Climb,” with an amazing solo by senior Vilma Ortiz, whose breathtaking voice lit up the entire hall.

After the song, Top Scholar speaker Onyekachukwu Arah and Featured Scholar Max Mitchell gave funny and interesting speeches about their high school experience.

Paint Branch math teacher Mrs. Kim Feher was the featured speaker and she did not disappoint. Her speech was very special because, as she mentioned to the class and others in attendance, she once sat in these very same seats for the very same ceremony when she graduated from PB in 1992. Mrs. Feher returned to PB many years ago and has served the school in many ways, including being a classroom teacher, coach, math department head, and staff development teacher during her tenure. Her words were heartfelt and offered an amazing and proper farewell to the seniors.

Then Dr. Yarbrough took the stage to address the senior class. Her speech, which was also enlightening and a fitting farewell, profiled many of the accomplishments of the Class of 2018.

Before the presentation of the diplomas, Mr. Michael Durso, President of the Board of Education and a former MCPS principal, provided some thoughtful and poignant words to the seniors who were just moments away from receiving their diplomas. Mr. Durso’s words inspired the seniors and everyone in Constitution Hall.

After his words, the graduating class finally got their diplomas. One by one students walked up the stairs, waited for their name to be called – to loud shouts and cheers – shook hands and had their photo taken with Dr. Yarbrough, and then walked across the stage with huge grins on their faces.

There were a lot of positive vibes going around as the last senior to be called, Marvin Zuniga-Cruz, finished his handshakes and descended the stairs to take his seat among the rest of the graduates. With the formalities finished, the whole hall cheered. In true PB fashion, the Jazz Singers, led by all of the seniors, sang the traditional last song, “It’s Time for Moving on,” before SGA President Prabhleen Batra and Top Scholar Jamison Smith instructed the Class of 2018 to complete the turning of the tassel, marking the end of four years of high school.   

 

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