Rockville High gives Class of 2012 a hot, humid send-off

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Rockville - posted Sun., Jun. 24, 2012
At salutatorian Jennifer Mears' suggestion, seniors conduct an impromptu 'flash mob' during the Rockville High School graduation on June 20. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
At salutatorian Jennifer Mears' suggestion, seniors conduct an impromptu 'flash mob' during the Rockville High School graduation on June 20. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

Water bottles and sunglasses were the de rigueur accessories at the Rockville High School commencement exercises on June 20, as temperatures in the school’s central courtyard inched toward the triple digits in an early heat wave.

Spectators were encouraged to avail themselves of the bottled water stacked up at the entrances to the courtyard, along with 400 pounds of donated ice and paper cups. Virtually every graduate had a water bottle tucked under the sleeve of his or her graduation gown.

Principal Eric Bain contrasted the seniors’ comfort level with new technology to that of their teachers. “By the time we learn it, you have already mastered it,” he said. “This tells me something: It tells me that you can all learn on your own. You have the ability to take a new piece of information and go with it. You are able to explore, design, create and solve in preparation for the real world. What you cannot prepare for is what is actually happening. You will run into roadblocks, conflicts, disagreements and barriers which you will need to overcome on your own.”

Student Council President Shannon Lipe cited some of the statistics that make life a “numbers game,” but urged her classmates to rise above the numbers to carve out their own identities. “You have only a limited amount of minutes and hours in your lifetime,” she said. “It only takes one good idea with one dedicated person to change the world. We should not let the numbers define us. As we graduate here today, one of the 3.5 million graduates in the United States, we must remember to never lose our own identity, but also remember that there is strength in numbers.”

Valedictorian Chelsea McDonnell echoed Lipe’s theme. “Each of us is incredibly significant,” she said. “Beneath the uniformity of our graduation robes, each of us is unique. There’s much more to our identities than just what we have established for ourselves in the last four years. In the future, each and every one of the students in our graduating class is going to be significant. We all have an important purpose, and in five, 10, 15 years’ time, we will all be changing the world.”

After calling her classmates to join her in an impromptu “flash mob,” salutatorian Jennifer Mears compared the high school experience to a bonfire. “This fire before you is much more than a survival tool,” she said. “It was the warmth and energy of the people who created it… a product of a community striving for the same cause: to ignite the sky.” She continued, “High school is just one spring night with the people who have supported you throughout the entire journey. From first spark to final breath of smoke, that fire is something you should be proud of, something you have created, and something you will never forget.”

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