Wakefield Seniors Wrap Up High School Careers


(Saturday, June 21, 2008 8:02 AM EDT)

With 12 long years of schooling at an end, the mood among members of Wakefield High School's Class of 2008 was mixed at their graduation, held June 19 at DAR Constitution Hall.

Some were relieved, others reflective and a few were sad, but most of them were on top of the world and celebrating.

“We are the champions of the world!” belted valedictorian Lameya Ahmed in her commencement address, inviting the graduates and the crowd to join her in Freddy Mercury's famous power ballad.

“We've grown up,” said Ashley Donahoo. who gave the other valedictory speech at the ceremony. “Our adulthood that we've waited for so long is here.”

But amid the celebratory atmosphere, speaker Alan Beitler, Wakefield's minority achievement coordinator, brought a more serious note to the ceremony.

“I have an important question I need you to answer tonight,” he said. “Four years ago, you walked into Wakefield . . . and all of you have left your mark. But how will you walk out of Wakefield?”

Beitler reminded the class that after high school graduation, there is a power shift.

“Our job [as teachers] ends tonight,” he said. “The responsibility for your education shifts from us to you. You're about to be handed much more than a diploma.”

He challenged the members of the graduating class to commit to three tasks.

First he urged them read and “feed their curiosity.” Second, he requested that they take time to serve others. Last, he asked that they leave high school as true Wakefield Warriors.

“You're not about to leave Wakefield and go to Hollywood or Disney World,” he said. “Your life will be more difficult. Will you have the courage to rise up when suffering comes into your life? Don't you warriors give up without a fight.”

And with the help of loved ones, it seemed that the ability to rise up and prevail was something the Wakefield graduates had been able to do during their high school careers.

“Thanks to our family and teachers,” Donahoo said. “You gave us the courage to act bravely.”

Faculty and administration praised the class for all its accomplishments over the past four years, but were clear that they would be sad to see the students go.

“It seems that as soon as you're doing what we want you to do, and getting all our messages, you leave, and in your place come more ninth-graders,” said Wakefield principal Doris Jackson. “It's a celebration, but it's bittersweet, because you've grown up so fast and we'll miss you.”

Alejandro Aguayo, Brendan Alexis-Robinson, Ben Camp and Rodrigo Ancalle were among Wakefield High School seniors who participated in the school's commencement exercises, held June 19 at DAR Constitution Hall.
(Photo by Kristen Armstong)

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