Kade Pruitt looked out over the sea of green to the first graduating class that spent all four of its high school years at St. Charles High School. They have come far in the years they spent together. The Spartans of St. Charles weren’t called on to prove themselves on the battleground, but they tested their mettle on athletic fields and the classroom, Pruitt, the 2018 valedictorian, said as he addressed his fellow graduates June 2 during the school’s commencement.

“As the first full class to graduate from St. Charles, we are leaving behind our legacy,” Pruitt said. “One that is full of ups and downs – kind of like the Intimidator at King’s Dominion, but with a lot more drama – that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Whether you are going on to college, the military, trade school or even right into the workforce, you have something to look forward to.”

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Hunter Donn, the salutatorian, also spoke of being a Spartan from the time he was a freshman. “We were in a unique situation: the upperclassmen all came from different high schools as rivals. They started as individuals,” Donn said. “But we started as Spartans. We have come together these four years to be the strongest class this school has seen.”

Principal Richard Conley remembered visiting John Hanson, Milton M. Somers and Benjamin Stoddert middle schools to meet the members of the Class of 2018 who were then eighth graders. “You are the first true class of Spartans,” Conley said. “You have set the standard for Spartan pride.”

This year’s group of 330 Spartans earned more than $21.4 million in scholarship offers. Graduates of St. Charles will attend Texas A&M, the University of Maryland College Park, Spelman College and Georgetown University. Some are going directly into the workforce, others will serve their country in the military.

But they’ll remember they are Spartans. “Let’s hope we meet a better fate than the 300 Spartans in our history books did,” Donn said. “But go forward with the same pride and courage they had, with our heads held high with our many awards and achievements, ready to brave the world.”

St. Charles’s graduation was the fifth of seven high school ceremonies set to take place this weekend at the Charles County Convocation Center at North Point High School. Photos from all high school graduations will be posted on the school system website at http://www.ccboe.com/index.php/graduation-2018 concluding each ceremony.