Photos by Shawn Nowlin
Graduation Day is a time to celebrate students for their accomplishments. On Friday, June 9, the class of 2017 saw 133 Glenvar students receive their diplomas from Principal Joe Hafey inside Highlander Stadium.
Some students cried while others pointed to their parents and friends in the stands. “My favorite part about graduation was watching all my friends walk, have fun and just live in the moment,” Brooke Cronin said. “I plan on going to Virginia Western, and transferring to Radford to pursue my PhD in American and European History with a certification in secondary education. I also plan on getting my Masters in Psychology.”
“We all already know that Glenvar is such a special place. We are a tightly knit family of staff members, students and families,” Principal Joe said. “Like myself, many of you in attendance went to Glenvar. We celebrate each other’s successes and today is certainly a day of celebration.”
Thanks to a support system that included teachers and friends, Valedictorian Barika Mirza said she never felt unwelcomed at Glenvar High despite being a Muslim.
“It is honestly very difficult to watch the news at times without feeling that you will be misunderstood. There’s always that fear. Except for at Glenvar,” she said. “As the only Muslim girl at this school, I can tell you that it meant the world to me that everyone here was willing to look past my differences and embrace me with open arms.”
Conner Smith received a standing ovation when he went to get his diploma. The 18-year-old was badly injured when he was seven, causing significant damage to his body.
Daulton Palmer credits his family and Kevin Clifford (his football coach) for pushing him to reach his potential in high school. “Just like my family, Coach always pushed me to do well in school, work hard in the weight room and become a better man,” he said.
Prior to his freshman year, Braxton Berkel made it known that he wanted to make countless high school memories with his friends and attend college. “What I’ll miss the most about being a Highlander is the atmosphere and just how comfortable people here make you feel,” he said. “I plan on starting out at Virginia Western and working towards getting my Masters in Kinesiology at UVA. After that, I want to become a Physical Therapist.”
Future Radford Highlander Brooke Cronin says she still can’t believe that her high school career is over. “Glenvar is not like other schools. We don’t really have a clique system and I’m going to miss that,” she said. “The past four years have been some of the best times of my life.”