News Release, Charles County Public Schools

For the 320 members of the St. Charles High School Class of 2019, today marked the first day of the rest of their adult lives. They graduated today in a ceremony in which school pride and respect for each other was on full display. From smiles seen on the faces of graduates, to the pep in the step of some students as they marched in to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance, the Spartan Class of 2019 is ready for their future.

Class valedictorian is Stephen Duranske, a straight-A student who plans to attend the University of Maryland, College Park in the fall to major in architecture and minor in theater. During the ceremony, Duranske gave a moving speech to his classmates about taking the time to make an impact.

“Do what you can in the small moments every day. Look at the faces around you every day rather than constantly looking into your own future. Try to help the people around you. Love them. The impacts that you make in their lives will be more lasting than anything you can win with your reputation,” Duranske said.

St. Charles senior Katherine O’Meara represented the Spartan Class of 2019 as its salutatorian. She will attend the University of Pittsburgh to study nursing. In her salutatory speech, O’Meara told her peers how proud she was of their class accomplishments.

“Each and every member of the Class of 2019 has had so many experiences, which have united us together as a class – each accepting one another’s differences. We can all do outstanding things and I believe in all of us. Good luck to everyone,” O’Meara said.

Richard Conley has been the principal at St. Charles since the school opened in 2014. He has led numerous graduation ceremonies over the years and shared with guests some of the future plans for the Class of 2019.

“A total of 320 of you are graduating today – that’s an awesome 97.26 percent of this amazing group of students. And, you have some fantastic post-secondary plans: 44 of you are entering the workforce; 32 of you will be serving in our armed forces; one of you will pursue an apprenticeship; 22 of you will attend vocational or technical schools; 99 of you will attend 2-year schools and 122 of you will attend 4-year colleges or universities. But to me, success isn’t just about what can be quantified or recorded. It’s about how you live your life. About what you do with your life. And about how you treat people. Hopefully, St. Charles High School has been able to help build a foundation for your continued success,” Conley said.

St. Charles’ graduation was the second of seven high school ceremonies planned for May 30-31 and June 1 at the Charles County Convocation Center. The St. Charles Class of 2019 earned $23,345,215 in scholarship offers. Photos from the St. Charles graduation ceremony are posted on the school system website at

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...