Before bidding Alexandrias Class of 2008 adieu, wed like to give each of this years 2,900 graduates from TC Williams, West Potomac, Edison, Episcopal, Bishop Ireton, St. Stephens & St. Agnes a hearty pat on the back.
Theyre certainly deserving.
One could make a convincing argument that few classes have encountered more hurdles on the road from kindergarten to graduation than this one.
This years grads were impressionable sixth graders when the dark cloud of 9/11 enveloped our entire country.
Two years later, they had the first half of eighth grade turned upside down by a pair of deranged snipers on the loose.
Last April, with most of this years graduates beginning to think about college, a student from Northern Virginia killed 32 people and himself in a rampage at Virginia Tech.
In addition to altering their worldview and sense of well-being, those three events led to myriad school closings, grief counseling sessions and countless cancellations football games, field trips and homecoming dances among them. Simply getting to and from school each day proved to be a nerve-racking experience.
There were academic challenges, too. Virginia introduced the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests when this years grads were in second grade, making them the first class in the state to go through the entire 10-year testing cycle.
The Class of 2008 also had to grapple with a college admissions process that was more competitive than ever, particularly at in-state schools with more applicants for fewer spots.
Through it all, the Class of 08 persevered, calmly navigating its way through the storm and helping preserve Alexandrias spot among the top school systems in the country.
Congratulations, graduates, and continued success in the years ahead.