On Saturday morning, Dominion High School seniors draped themselves in black and purple robes, adjusted mortarboards and tassels and took their place on the football field under the blazing sun.
Dominion High School Principal W. John Brewer welcomed faculty members, family and friends to the Class of 2006 graduation. The proud principal rattled off names of students like Amanda Heins, who received a full scholarship to Radford University in Radford, Va., and Corey Burns, who was recently accepted to electrician school. He recognized students like Albany Royal, who moved to Sterling after Hurricane Katrina destroyed her house and school, and two-time regional science fair winner Robert Minehart.
Brewer introduced student speaker Se Won Chung to deliver the senior address. Chung has moved 14 times and attended eight different schools. The graduate said she is proud to call Dominion High School "home."
Chung helped build her home — the school opened in 2003 — by voting on the school’s colors, purple and black and the mascot, the Titan.
"We picked the Titan as our mascot and we know why he looks like Jesus," Chung laughed. "We’ve been through so much together."
After Chung’s speech, Brewer gave her a big hug and she took her seat with the rest of the graduates. The principal called valedictorian Judy Qui from the audience to deliver her speech.
Qui pointed out the diverse backgrounds of her fellow classmates.
"Our interests and accomplishments are as diverse as our backgrounds," she said.
The valedictorian compared the halls of Dominion High School to the Wizard of Oz's yellow brick road.
"We’re all relieved and excited to be in Emerald City, graduation," Qui said.
No matter where the graduates end up, Qui pointed out, there’s no place like home.
The school's chorus, led by graduate Kimberly Schwartz serenaded the crowd with Ed Robertson’s "Dream a Dream."
After the song, graduates Amanda Heins and Caroline Wells introduced faculty speaker Heather Flor to the stage.
"The senior class council voted to keep the keynote speaker in the family, in the Titan family," Brewer said.
The high-school teacher and coach thanked the Class of 2006 for making her feel at home at Dominion High School. She went down a list of "remember whens," including the time she got hit in the face with a pie and talking to nervous students before this year’s advanced placement exams.
"Even though you’re leaving high school, the memories I have of you have become what I call ‘home,’" Flor said. "Simply stated Class of 2006, I love you and you’ve made me feel at home."