This past Tuesday the DC Public Charter School Board held its first ever Summer High School Graduation Ceremony honoring about 60 seniors at the Thurgood Marshall Center in Northwest Washington, D.C.
The room for the event was packed with school leaders, teachers, parents and relatives of the students. David Grosso, the chairman of the D.C. Council’s education committee was in attendance. The Master of Ceremonies was Walter Deleion, who holds the dual distinctions of being the youngest elected representative in the nation’s capital as an ANC Commissioner and being a graduate of Washington Latin PCS.
Naomi Rubin DeVeaux, the deputy director of the PCSB, kicked off the ceremony, beaming as she explained to the enthusiastic audience that graduation events such as this are the reason she comes to work everyday. The quick-paced agenda included a Presentation of the Colors by IDEA PCS’s Junior ROTC, a highly emotional signing of the National Anthem by Angela Moore, an operations assistant at the PCSB, and a poem by Michael Moore from National Collegiate Preparatory PCS.
The keynote address was provided by Quentin Liggins, the acting executive director of the D.C. region for Leading Educators, a group that provides teacher leadership training to improve the quality of classroom instruction. Mr. Liggins spoke eloquently about the power of perseverance, asking the matriculating seniors to go boldly forward in life by having a vision for their future, to win or learn but never lose, and to not be afraid to ask for help. His third piece of advice echoed a similar recommendation offered by Ms. DeVeaux.
Following Mr. Liggins were some remarks by Dr. Darren Woodruff, the PCSB chair. Dr. Woodruff commented to me about the graduation ceremony, “This year marks the 20th year that public charter schools have been in Washington, DC. Our first ever summer graduation is a fitting way to kick off the celebration and put a spot light on the accomplishments of all of our graduates.”
The names of each of the graduates was then read aloud by Scott Pearson, the PCSB executive director, to wild cheers from the audience as each scholar dressed in their graduation cap and gown traversed the stage. It was about the classiest sixty minutes that you will ever see.