DeShawn Lamont Coleman’s family was ready to celebrate him.
Eight of his family members arrived at Jamestown High School’s graduation at William and Mary Hall Saturday evening wearing green shirts with Coleman’s face.
In the moments before he walked across the stage, his family all pulled out their phones to capture the moment, and they got ready to scream.
The screams for Coleman were loud, but it seemed that almost every senior who crossed the stage had their own rabid following somewhere in the stands.
As the final graduation of the day for the Williamsburg-James City County school district, the big worry for administrators was a loss of power. The power went out during Lafayette’s graduation in the morning, and school officials made no guarantees that it wouldn’t happen again.
But the lights stayed on, and nearly 300 seniors got their moment on the stage.
Superintendent Steve Constantino told Jamestown’s class of 2016 he would miss their sense of humor.
He told them he follows many of them on Twitter, and he amused the audience with descriptions of the Tweets they send him when it snows. He said he got one earlier this year with a picture of a glacier with penguins that read, “I swear this is in front of my house. Close school.”
Jamestown Principal Catherine Worley told the seniors they would always hold a special place in her heart. Their first day as freshmen was also her first day as principal of Jamestown.
Quoting Abraham Lincoln, Worley told the students to “harness your power to your passion.”
Senior Vivian Carvajal spoke to her classmates about the importance of things that cannot be measured.
She said too often, students obsess over SAT scores, their weight, the number of likes they get on Instagram or their GPA.
Carvajal said this year she had wanted to take an additional Advanced Placement course in order to boost her potential GPA, but it didn’t fit into her schedule. Instead, she was forced to take chorus, which she said turned out to be one of the best decisions of her life.
Instead of stressing over another tough course, she spent every day after school with a new group of friends.
“Remember to take the time to appreciate everything in your life that isn’t quantifiable,” she said.
Houston Heard also addressed his classmates. He credited his music appreciation teacher for bringing his passion for music “bach,” and he said Jamestown High School pushes students out of their comfort zones to help them grow.
Carvajal was named the class valedictorian, and George Andreas Stathopoulos is the salutatorian. Tim Felbinger, Meg Graham and Alexandra Kemper all completed the WJCC Honors Program, a rigorous curriculum track requiring several advanced-placement classes and community service.
McKinnon can be reached at 757-345-2341.