Seniors look to graduation events

For many seniors, graduation marks a turning point in their lives. The thought of walking down the aisle, with floor-length, red gowns draped around their bodies and a cap resting gently on their heads brews a feeling of accomplishment within students. “I’m super excited for graduation, because it means that all of our hard work is finished and we are ready for summer,” said senior Salinna So.

Graduation also generates a feeling of freedom, as students begin to think about their future. However, before their future outside of AHS begins, seniors have a busy agenda to focus on.

The celebration of graduation will begin on Wednesday, June 16 when the class of 2010 holds its Baccalaureate ceremony. The event will be held in the auditorium of AHS at 7:00 p.m., with a reception in the cafeteria afterwards. Seniors will sit as a group, wearing their caps and gowns. The students and accompanying guests will listen to a speaker. Instrumental and choral music, dance and readings selected for the occasion by classmates will be performed by student volunteers.

The following day, Thursday, June 17, the graduation ceremony will take place. The event will be held at DAR Constitution Hall, located in Washington, D.C. Instead of the ceremony’s initial start time of 7:00 p.m., it has been pushed back to 8:00 p.m. Participating seniors should arrive by 7:00 p.m. Graduates and their guests must provide their own transportation, unless, prior to the event, they purchased seats on the Charter Bus that will take them to and from the ceremony from AHS.

Due to several concerns about the safety and security of the location of the ceremony being held in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, strict security measures will be placed in action at Constitution Hall throughout the event. The security measures will be enforced on all guests, and include the use of metal detectors and searches through personal bags.

Upon the conclusion of the graduation ceremony, the 21st annual All Night Graduation Celebration (ANGC) will occur. The ANGC will take place at Audrey Moore RECenter at Wakefield Park from 11:00 p.m. till 5:00 a.m. the following day. The AHS Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) sponsored night filled with music, games, prizes and food will be  a safe, chaperoned, alcohol and drug free environment.

The ANGC was started to keep graduates safe and alcohol-free while celebrating their graduation. According to statistics, the highest risk for alcohol-related driving accidents for teenagers happens on graduation night. AHS is working with the Northern Virginia Project Graduation to help diminish the alcohol and drug related deaths on graduation night. The event is sponsored by and will be chaperoned by approximately 200 PTSA volunteers.

In order to purchase a ticket for the ANGC, class of 2010 graduates can go to the Main Office or the PTSA website. Tickets can be purchased prior to the event or at the door. In order to purchase a ticket, a parent/guardian of the student must fill out a consent form. Tickets cost $45 per student until June 16, and $60 at the door on June 17.

Students with free or reduced lunch can goto their counselor in order to purchase tickets for $20. Students need to bring their students ID along with their purchased ticket to be allowed access into the ANGC. Admission is only from 11:00 p.m. until midnight. Students may leave at any time, but may not re-enter after their departure. If a student has purchased a ticket and does not attend, their parent or guardian will be notified.

The day after graduation, Friday, June 18, AHS will have a two-hour delay. School will begin promptly at 9:50 a.m., giving students and faculty members an extra two-and-a-half hours of sleep. The extra sleep, following the late night’s celebrations, is being granted by Principal John Ponton. Despite the change in time, the date iwill remain reserved for students to take their W8 final exams. The rest of the school year will consist of half days as well, but with an early release each day.