E. Wayne Griffith, former principal of Potomac Falls High School, spoke to the Class of 2007 at its graduation Thursday, June 21, at George Mason University in Fairfax, to commemorate the school’s 10-year anniversary.
Griffith helped open the school in 1997. The school was built on wetlands, he said, and he would often see deer munching on the grass growing out of the concrete islands in the student parking lot when he would pull into the school during the wee hours of the morning.
Griffith, who served at the school until 2004, said Potomac Falls High School was built 21 years after the last high school, Park View High School, was built, in 1976.
"That was the last old generation high school and clearly the most modern," he said. "As Countryside developed, there was a need for a new high school."
Griffith sat on a committee of teachers and community leaders to select the school’s mascot, the panther and its colors, purple, black and white.
The original staff was made up of teachers from the county’s elementary, middle and high schools.
"There are 24 original faculty members still at Potomac Falls High School. Each teacher influenced your life," Griffith said. "Now it’s your turn."
WHEN STEPHANY LIN took the stage to deliver her speech as valedictorian of the Class of 2007, she evoked the words of art teacher Elaine Nunnally, who encouraged her students live life to its fullest.
"Create your own masterpiece," Lin said. "Do something in your life no one else has done before."
Oftentimes, Lin admitted to getting caught up and stressed out about the little things in life.
"Maybe we over think and over plan our lives," Lin said. "Maybe life will be like this speech. Planning and stressing will only get you so far. So have fun."
Lin, who graduated with a 4.5 GPA, will attend Harvard in the fall to study environmental science.
LIN WAS one of 10 students to graduate with a 4.0 GPA or higher.
David Spage asked Lin, salutatorians Azhar Ahmed and Tooba Raza, Kevin Price, Brennan Thralls, Daniel Rothman, Audrey McElrath, Christine Merola, Kyle Dacuyan and Sally Lee to stand up during the graduation ceremony, to be recognized for their hard work.
"Learning has and will be at the forefront of these students lives," he said.
As a whole, the Class of 2007 earned $1,000,043 in scholarships,
At the end of her speech, Lin gave her fellow classmates a final reminder.
"This is not the end, this is not the beginning," Lin said. "This is only the end of the beginning."
GRIFFITH REMINDED THE Class of 2007 to remember its "Panther Pride" after graduation.
"Use your pride as your guide," he said.
Pride, Griffith said, stands for purpose, to always strive to the right thing, integrity, dedication, and enjoyment of life.
"If you wake up every day ready to enjoy life, than you are already a success," the former principal said. "I never had a day that I did not enjoy at Potomac Falls High School."