News Release, Charles County Public Schools
Family and friends celebrated 260 graduates of La Plata High School May 31 when the Class of 2019 turned their tassels from right to left.
Ready to enter “the real world,” class leaders urged their peers to remember the good times while honoring — but not being locked — in the past. “Now as we embark on the next chapter of our lives, we must find the balance,” said Aashka Patel, the class salutatorian. “The happy memories of our past 13 years will guide us through difficult times.”
Sharing in today’s ceremony were Janice Johnson Greenfield and Randy Ferdinand Martin, graduates of the Class of 1969. Each year, La Plata’s graduating class honors the class that earned their high school diplomas from the school 50 years before them.
Fifty years ago, the country was fighting in Vietnam, said Kelsey Kluh, president of La Plata’s SGA. The conflict ushered in a wave of student activism that has continued through the generations. The students in 1969’s class were not much different from those in 2019, Kluh said. They looked forward to prom and pep rallies. “Fifty years from right now, someone will be making this speech about us,” Kluh said.
Much has changed in the 50 years since Greenfield and Martin were in the shoes of this year’s graduates, but some things remain the same. “We all have differences, and that will include how much money we will earn, how big our houses will be and how high our socioeconomic statuses will be. And as disappointing or as hopeful as that sounds, that’s the reality, right,” said Se Eun “Grace” Na, the class valedictorian. “We all have different definitions of success and how and when we will achieve it.”
Principal Douglass Dolan looked back on his history with the Class of 2019. “Back in 2015, we started at La Plata High School together,” said Dolan, who was named the school’s principal four years ago. “Now four years later, I’m proud to say we have both found our way. I have no doubt you will have a positive impact on our community and beyond.”
Na believes this too.
“I hope that the Class of 2019 can be a community of thoughtful people who know how to build each other up with humility,” Na said.
La Plata’s Class of 2019 earned $12,280,241 million in scholarship offers with graduates set to attend schools like the Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Notre Dame, University of Maryland, College Park, and the United States Military Academy at West Point. Graduates will go on to apprenticeships, technology and preparatory schools, serve in the U.S. military and enter the workforce.