A class that has gone from a normal freshman year, to almost two years outside the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic and then back into the classroom has finally wrapped up their tumultuous high school career.
This year’s class of graduates totaled 6,468.
Thursday, June 16 was also the first graduation for the county’s newest high school, Lightridge. Tanmayi Alaparti was the school’s first-ever valedictorian, with Andrew Collins and Vainateya Rangaraju its first salutatorians.
“The Class of 2022 Bolts is one of the most resilient classes to graduate from Loudoun County Public Schools,” said Lightridge Principal Ryan Hitchman. “They have transitioned through multiple schools with grace and distinction. We are proud of the impressive contributions they continue to make to the world.”
Resiliency was a common theme in last week’s graduation speeches and ceremonies. At the county’s oldest high school, Loudoun County High School, Principal Michelle Luttrell had similar praise.
“The class of 2022 was a class that boldly reemerged and bravely reengaged after their lives were reshaped and redefined by the hardest of times,” Luttrell said. “They leave Loudoun County High School as caring, connected and compassionate people who are not afraid to give their most authentic self to the world and unconditionally accept others as they do the same.”
“This class has gone from shut down, to masks being back. They are resilient, they are talented and they are going far in our community,” said Broad Run Principal David Spage.
“The Dominion High School Class of 2022 embodies the concept of ‘Truly Titan,’ demonstrating resilience in the face of adversity and exhibiting kindness and trustworthiness indicative of our school community’s values,” said Dominion Principal John Brewer.
“The term ‘persistence’ is defined as doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. The Briar Woods Class of 2022 exemplifies persistence,” said Briar Woods Principal Sheila Alzate. “In the face of years of adversity, they consistently put one foot in front of the other despite a world of uncertainty, and found their way to success on this journey.”
At Riverside High School, on the school’s newly renamed F.A.C.T. Field, longtime teacher Phillip Campbell recalled the stories of a class some of whom he taught in sixth grade at Belmont Ridge Middle School.
“I encourage each one of you to be the authentic, courageous and the original person that is you, because when it comes to being you, there is no one in this world that will be more of an expert to being you, then you,” Campbell said. “I will forever have your back, just as you have always had mine.”
Kiki Stathis, senior class president and future University of Alabama student, wished her peers good luck and noted that change is hard.
“We can laugh while we cry, cheer while we reflect, and we get to do so together as the final act of the Class of 2022,” Stathis said.
Olivia Ausnehmer is a rising junior at Penn State and an intern at Loudoun Now.