The 336 graduates of St. Charles High School kicked off the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) 2022 commencement season on May 31 at Regency Furniture Stadium.
Principal Richard Conley in his farewell address to the Spartan Class of 2022 commended the students on braving four years of school like no others in recent history. The students started high school traditionally going to classes in person, making friends, and figuring out how they fit in and how they stood out.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic changed how education was accessed. Students learned virtually, foregoing some of the milestones that were once promised to high school students. Despite the pandemic that demanded social distance, “You remained connected to each other and your school community,” Conley said. “You’ve done it with class and to me, that’s what defines you. It wasn’t always easy but … you killed it. You have some bright futures ahead of you. Your story isn’t over, a new chapter is just beginning.”
In her first graduation since she was named Superintendent, Maria Navarro, Ed.D., urged the graduates to look over their shoulders to their families and friends in the stands, fanning themselves with graduation programs against the sweltering temperatures.
“They love you and they are going to celebrate you,” Navarro said. Her address continued to encourage the graduates to seek out people who have their backs. She advised the graduates to take care of themselves, physically, spiritually, and mentally. She asked that they travel and meet people from different cultures and be smart with money. She told them to seek out the advice of people who have their best interests at heart, who tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.
“These people are your home, “Navarro said. “Always find your way home.”
Caden Simpson, who plans to study computer science at the University of Maryland, College Park on a full Banneker/Key Scholarship, was valedictorian of the class. Victoria St. John, who is attending the University of Minnesota in the fall where she will major in clinical psychology, was the class’s salutatorian. The St. Charles Class of 2022 set a new school record for scholarships with more than $24 million in offers.
The CCPS Class of 2022 will celebrate graduations throughout the week at the stadium. For a list of graduations and how to watch them live, click here.