Warrior Pride on Full Display from La Plata Class of 2017 at Graduation Ceremony - Southern Maryland Headline News

Warrior Pride on Full Display from La Plata Class of 2017 at Graduation Ceremony

Members of the La Plata High School graduating Class of 2017 gather to practice their speeches prior to the start of their graduation ceremony held June 2 at the Charles County Convocation Center. Seniors, from left, Tyler Dixon, Paige Upright, Ailani Bautista, Hunter Willis and Sarah Gough, represented were some of the top academic achievers in their class. Gough was named salutatorian. (Photo: CCPS)
Members of the La Plata High School graduating Class of 2017 gather to practice their speeches prior to the start of their graduation ceremony held June 2 at the Charles County Convocation Center. Seniors, from left, Tyler Dixon, Paige Upright, Ailani Bautista, Hunter Willis and Sarah Gough, represented were some of the top academic achievers in their class. Gough was named salutatorian. (Photo: CCPS)

LA PLATA, Md. (June 06, 2017)—La Plata High School celebrated its Warrior Class of 2017 in a June 2 ceremony at the Charles County Convocation Center. For the 251 La Plata seniors, June 2 was the day most have looked forward to for several years.

"We've wished, willed, and prayed that this day would come, counting down the days on our calendars. But I don't think any of us realized just how quickly four years fly by," Class of 2017 Salutatorian Sarah Gough said.

La Plata Principal Douglass Dolan addressed the graduating class with messages of hard work, pride, future success and kindness.

"At the start of the school year, I challenged you to be great. You have already made your mark with your academic prowess. The Class of 2017 has demonstrated how students can make a difference for others. Each one of you has taken a different path to get here today. All of you have made it. Today is a special day. Appreciate it. Soak it in. Take pride in your accomplishments," Dolan said.

Joining Gough as a Warrior Class of 2017 leader is Justin Cortez, who was named valedictorian. He will attend Stanford University and plans to study chemistry. Rather than quoting someone famous or of celebrity status, Cortez chose to honor one of La Plata's own, social studies teacher Kevin Barry.

"For those seniors who braved his AP Human Geography class, this should sound familiar to you. Mr. Barry would hand out a map or put up a graphic on his smartboard and ask the same six words: 'How does it tell a story?' I hope now that you see the importance in that simple question. We, the Class of 2017, are here to tell a story," Cortez said.

During graduation activities held last week, La Plata was one of six Charles County public high schools to participate in a parade of success, where graduates visited alma mater elementary schools. The seniors were able to reflect on their past experiences, but also serve as role models for younger children. Now, these students are ready to take on their future.

"Always be open to change, but never forget to remain true to who you are. If you remember anything from today, remember this: live your life crafting your own story so that when anyone asks, you don't hesitate for a second to tell it," Cortez told his peers.

The La Plata graduation was the third of seven high school ceremonies held June 1-3 at the Charles County Convocation Center. The La Plata Class of 2017 earned $8,092,457 in scholarship offers, with additional offers anticipated.

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