Susan Foster wasn’t a graduation speaker at Warhill High School’s ceremony Saturday afternoon — she was a graduation rapper.
The senior took the stage shortly after 5:30 p.m., turned to her left and started directing a few band members to play a tune.
“Out in this world we can make a real change / our ideas and methods will make it look rearranged,” Foster rapped. “With knowledge and courage in these people right here / I’m happy to say we can leave without fear.”
Deafening applause rang out with her last line. A few of the 293 other seniors seated in Kaplan Arena at the College of William and Mary gave her a standing ovation.
Warhill’s second student speaker, Ali Hassan, acknowledged it was a hard act to follow.
In his speech, Hassan reflected on how easy high school was compared to the where the students are headed — some to two- and four-year universities, others to the military or workforce.
“It’s the courage to go on that we will most need,” Hassan said. “It’s only going to get worse from here.”
Before Principal Jeffery Carroll shared his remarks and began doling out diplomas, he introduced a new tradition: naming the most influential teacher as chosen by seniors. This year the Warhill seniors voted for social studies teacher Heather Scully.
Carroll also recognized Valedictorian Cori Clifton and Salutatorian Zachary Cooper in addition to Warhill’s honors diploma recipients.
He told the graduates to reflect on their high school years and relish the happy memories, but said it is “time to explore.”
“No matter where your explorations lead, you will always have the heart of a lion,” Carroll said. “Warhill High School will miss you.”
Warhill seniors earned $6.7 million in scholarships and grants, Carroll said.