Valedictorian Aaron Hodges had to pause before beginning his speech at graduation Saturday night.
He waited while he was given an extra round of applause after his plans to attend Harvard University in the fall to study biomedical engineering were announced to the crowd at the Hampton Coliseum.
He then turned his attention to the 345 members of the Class of 2017 who sat before him.
"Monarch millennials are in fact one in a million, full of aspirations and encouragement from every student in their class, constantly shaping and inspiring one another to achieve our full potential," Hodges said.
Salutatorian Fotini Gouletas spent her remarks Saturday challenging her fellow classmates to take on tough problems now that their four years of high school are over.
Gouletas asked her peers if they want to be known as someone who gave up when times are tough, or instead remembered as a persistent individual. She urged them toward the latter.
"Living a life where one does not find themselves being challenged, or lacking a drive toward a higher goal or objective, is an example of a lackluster life," Gouletas, who will attend Virginia Tech in the fall, said. "When we as students have set a high caliber sitting here today, I believe it would be a shame to let our talents go to waste."
Forty-eight percent of the Class of 2017 graduated with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Seniors earned 495 career and technical education credentials, and $10 million in scholarships and academic awards were offered to the graduating seniors.
Hammond can be reached by phone at 757-247-4951.
Menchville High School
Total enrollment: 1,468
Class of 2017: 345
Student speakers: Senior class president Alexis M. Gayle; Salutatorian Fotini T. Gouletas; and Valedictorian Aaron T. Hodges.
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