News Release, Charles County Public Schools

Though Maurice J. McDonough High School is the smallest in the county, it is big on school pride.

“We have continued to believe in ourselves as a class and instilled a pride in our school that will no doubt carry on to future students. Our athletic teams competed against much larger schools and found success. Our music and drama departments put on amazing performances, and our academic teams showed that the size of the school does not indicate its intelligence,” said Peyton Carney, the school’s valedictorian for the Class of 2019. “We might have the smallest number of students, but when we have worked together, we have accomplished great things.”

The class earned $8.4 million in scholarships with graduates moving on to college, the U.S. military, technical and trade schools, and the workforce. The diversity in postgraduate plans reflects the skills and attributes among McDonough’s Class of 2019.

“As salutatorian, I may have the second highest grades, but marks on tests and homework grades are just that at the end of the day. I am not the smartest in our class in countless areas, whether it be math, history, English or science. Or, for instance, if you ask me how to change the oil in a vehicle, I couldn’t tell you the first step. Yet, this is important,” said Marie Bennett, the class salutatorian. “You all heard the wide list of professions we represent. There is such variety in this class, and in each person, there are such strong qualities and strengths mirroring that diversity. So, if you struggled on tests or learn according to a different style, do not be discouraged. High school laid our foundations, but what we do with that from here matters most.”

Principal Steven Roberts reminded the students that while they worked hard individually, they were a strong team with strong support.

“Most, if not all of you, are here today because you had support. You had help. You had family, friends, teachers, administrators, school counselors and Ram staff members who were there for you along the way,” Roberts said. “So, look beside you. Look into the stands. Look at the stage in front of you. Think about the times you have given help to a classmate when it was needed and think about the ways in which you’ve received help when you needed it. The ability to work together is a success worth celebrating.”

Roberts listed the feats accomplished by McDonough students during the class’s senior year. The accolades ranged from athletic titles – for teams and individuals, achievements in the arts and academic awards.

“It’s good to pause and bask in our successes, it’s almost as important to honor our failures. … You likely will encounter some failure, but it’s how you respond to that failure that defines you,” Roberts said. “You can use failure as an excuse to quit or you can use it as an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to rise up and to begin again more intelligently.”

McDonough’s ceremony closed out the three-day graduation of Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) seven high schools. The Class of 2019 of CCPS included nearly 2,000 graduates. Photos from McDonough’s 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...