Gathered in Kaplan arena, the 320 seniors making up Jamestown High School’s Class of 2019 came not only to graduate, but to celebrate milestones and personal growth achieved over the past four years.
Speaking to the graduating seniors, Jamestown Principal Howard Townsend IV highlighted a long list of academic achievements by this group of Eagles, including earning $7,370,542 in scholarships and awards, eight National Merit commended students, a school record 11 W-JCC Honor Graduates, and 145 students graduating with a GPA above 3.5, almost half of the graduating class.
“To our graduating seniors, I couldn’t be prouder of all of you, and to parents, teachers and faculty, this is your moment as well,” Townsend said. “The Class of 2019 reached today’s milestone as a result of all of your actions and efforts.”
One more milestone came when Townsend named the Jamestown Class of 2019’s salutatorian and valedictorian: brother and sister Hope Stump and Zachary Stump were named co-salutatorians, while Anna Song was named valedictorian.
“Each year we honor our two students who have the highest cumulative GPAs, and this year I am proud to say we will instead be honoring three,” Townsend said. “To each of you, we commend your academic pursuit, your many accomplishments, your leadership and your dedication to the highest standards of learning and academic integrity.”
The first senior commencement speech was delivered by Thomas Hallet, titled “I Don’t Recognize Me,” where he discussed all the ways he had changed since freshman year.
“2015 was the first time that we crossed the threshold of Jamestown High School, and there have many times where I told myself I didn’t belong here, or that I was uncomfortable,” Hallet said. “In many ways, that’s what high school is all about, trying new things, gritting our teeth and making things happen, and questioning authority perhaps more than our teachers would like. Those experiences and challenges shaped us into who we are moving forward.”
The other senior commencement speaker, Josie-Elise Rollins, delivered a speech titled “Managing Your Time.”
“The average person lives 78 years, of which they spend 28 years sleeping, 10 years working, nine years in front of the TV or computer, four years eating and drinking, three and a half years on education and one and a half years commuting, leaving most of us nine years to choose how to spend our lives,” Rollins said. “Time is a tricky thing. You can’t buy it, but you can spend it, once lost, you can never get it back, which is why time is more valuable than money — you can always get more money, but you can never get more time.”
Her advice to her classmates was simple: Make every second matter.
“Whatever you wish you should change about the last four years, the last 12 years, or the last 18 years, don’t make the same mistakes twice, and make each moment count moving forward,” Rollins said. “Spending today complaining about yesterday will not make tomorrow better, and our time with Williamsburg public schools is now over, but what you do now with your time ahead is up to you.”
Sean CW Korsgaard can be reached at 757-968-1529, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter @SCWKorsgaard.