All Saints Cathedral School graduates 33
Published: June 15, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - At a nearly full-to-capacity Reichhold Center, the All Saints Cathedral School's Class of 2013 proudly mounted the stage in a regal procession for commencement ceremonies Friday night.
The mood was a mixture of solemnity, prayer and enthusiasm as onlookers witnessed this momentous right of passage.
For Valedictorian Gabrielle Kean, the prospect of graduation and starting college is both exciting and anxious. She leaves next week to attend the summer program at American University in Washington, D.C., where she will study public health.
"It's a kaleidoscope of emotions," she said. "It will be a challenge adjusting to a large city and being away from the people I feel comfortable with and who care about me. But I look forward to meeting new people and seeing what the world has to offer."
Salutatorian Nakiesha Peterson also will be heading to Washington, D.C., to study political science with a concentration in law at Howard University.
"I'm excited and nervous, but I've been waiting for this all my life, so I'm ready," she said. "It will be a whole culture change. I won't be home anymore, and I'll be on my own. But I look forward to meeting new people, making connections and networking. I'm going to be in D.C., and that's very exciting for me."
All 33 graduates have plenty to look forward to, but Friday night was all about the past and present, thanking family, friends and faculty who have supported them throughout their school years at All Saints.
Writing a valedictorian speech was its own challenge for Gabrielle. In it, she pondered, "How is any valedictorian of 18 years supposed to give a speech that inspires the entire graduation audience?"
She found a way through some simple advice from Walt Disney: Keep moving forward.
"In life, you do face obstacles, expected and unexpected," she said. "It is important to know that whatever you are facing now or in the future is not the end, but is only a minor pothole in our roads to success."
In her salutatorian speech, Nakiesha had some advice of her own.
"I want to encourage you, my fellow classmates, to always stay true to who you are," she said. "Individuality is one of the most precious gifts you are blessed with. We have all grown and learned so much together. I pray that we all continue to accomplish great things."
Family and friends were overjoyed with the graduates' most important transition into adulthood.
"The world is waiting to hear your voice and feel your strengths and recognize your values and commitments," said Pastor Harvard Stephens, whose grandson, Ja'Sahn Adams, graduated with the class.
"We're proud today, and 10 years from now, we want to be even prouder," Stephens said.All Saints Class of 2013
Valedictorian: Gabrielle Kean
Salutatorian: Nakiesha Peterson
Number of students graduating: 33
Number of graduates going to college: 32
Number of students going to work: 1
Colleges attending: American University, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Florida International University, Full Sail University, George Mason University, Howard University, Ithaca College, Jacksonville University, Lehigh University, Monroe University, North Carolina A&T State University, Nova Southeastern University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Suffolk University, St. Johns, University of Tampa, University of the Virgin Islands, Western Washington University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Xavier of Louisiana University.
Scholarships awarded: $356,730