Vivian Hua briefly chatted with her fellow senior classmates Wednesday in a dim hallway inside the on the campus of George Mason University before ’s 66th commencement ceremony.
As staff from the high school organized the students in alphabetical order, Hua, 18, flashed a smile at some of her former teachers who passed by the group of seniors.
“I’m going to miss my classmates and teachers,” said Hua, who will study fashion marketing at Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall.
Hua was one of 297 seniors to receive a diploma from Falls Church High Wednesday. The class included 19 Advanced Placement scholars, 13 honor graduates and nine students who have already enlisted in the United States military. Principal Cathy Benner told the class they reinvented the meaning of school spirit over their four years and the school will not be the same without them.
As Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” blared from the speakers inside the Patriot Center, Ryan Healy strolled to the podium to address the Class of 2012. Healy, a 2001 graduate of the high school and now a teacher and coach at his alma mater, told the students they have to love themselves before they can love someone else. During his comedic address, Healy blew up an inflatable sword and ranted out lines in a pirate’s voice before telling the students “smooth seas don’t make for experienced sailors.”
“Right now you’re at the top of the pyramid,” Healy told the seniors. “But next year you’ll be right back at the bottom.”
Student Nick Willemse, 18, didn’t want to think about anything else Wednesday but the last four years of his life.
“I’m going to miss my friends and seeing everybody every day,” Willemse said. “I’ll miss just chilling with them.”