The Class of 2021 from Maurice J. McDonough High School celebrated the closing of their high school career today during their official graduation ceremony. Held at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, a total of 242 graduates crossed the stage and began their future as high school graduates.
The outdoor ceremony may have started out under gray skies, but the stars of the ceremony were the graduates, who proudly marched on to the field in gowns representing the McDonough Ram purple pride. Returning to congratulate the class on its accomplishments was Steven Roberts, former McDonough principal. Roberts took another position with Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) earlier in the school year, but was McDonough’s principal for most of the graduates’ high school career.
Roberts expressed his excitement for the graduating class and wished them well with future endeavors. “You will look back on this and remember what actually happened and maybe not what you may have missed. You may remember a loved one whose sickness or even death impacted you or your family. You may remember the stress of watching, listening to and worrying about social justice issues and the future of our country,” Roberts said. “Did you miss some of the typical events, ceremonies, celebrations that a senior gets to experience? Yes. But will your senior year always be remembered? There is no doubt.”
“You are the Class of 2021. You are class that will always be remembered for the experiences you endured during the COVID pandemic and you have the firsthand knowledge of that experience. Cherish some of that, no other class will be the same,” he said.
The Maurice J. McDonough High School Class of 2021 is led by Valedictorian Iris Golden and Salutatorian Rachel Brasch. Golden heads to Georgia Tech in the fall to study nuclear engineering. She is also considering joining the U.S. Navy after she finishes college and pursuing a master’s degree. She chose Georgia Tech for its engineering programs.
“The most important thing I learned in the past four years has been to truly believe in yourself and abilities. Having confidence in yourself and what you can accomplish is powerful, as we tend to become our own worst enemy,” Golden said. “No one – I mean no one – is stopping you. So do not allow yourself to limit your own potential. While fear and failure are damaging inhibitors, they are absolutely the greatest motivators.”
Brasch will attend North Carolina State University in the fall. Her major is Biological Sciences: Integrative Physiology and Neurobiology. Brasch chose N.C. State because of the university’s top science programs. After she finishes her four-year degree, she may pursue her master’s degree with a goal of becoming a physician’s assistant.
“The only constant we can lean on is change. Therefore, befriend change and make it your best friend. Be excited by the change the future will bring,” Brasch said. “As time continues to wait for no one, keep moving forward one step at a time.”
Earlier this school year, CCPS worked with the Charles County Government to secure Regency Furniture Stadium for outdoor high school graduations. Due to COVID-19 safety and health guidelines, CCPS had to scale down ceremony activities, including the number of guests who could attend, to follow social distancing and safety measures.
The Class of 2021 from McDonough earned $13,704,907 in scholarship offers this year. Scholarship totals may increase as graduates report offers.