Outstanding Speakers Highlight 2011 Graduation Ceremonies

May 24, 2011

More than 10,000 high school students and students in alternative programs are graduating and receiving diplomas from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) this spring. Thirty-two schools and programs have scheduled graduation ceremonies through June 15. Popular student choices for speakers include accomplished alumni, educators, government officials, members of the news media, and organization leaders.

This year’s speaker at Gaithersburg High School (HS) is Manuel Scott. Scott was one of the original Freedom Writers, a group of California high school students who kept journals about their struggles and dreams under the guidance of their teacher, Erin Gruwell.  A 2007 movie entitled “Freedom Writers” chronicles their experience.

Students at Winston Churchill HS chose Frank Warren as their graduation speaker. Warren is the founder of PostSecret, an art project in which secrets are mailed anonymously on a decorated homemade postcard. Select secrets are posted on the PostSecret website, displayed in museums, or published in books.

Another notable speaker is Brenda Frese, head coach of women’s basketball at the University of Maryland (Paint Branch HS).  Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will speak to graduates of John F. Kennedy HS. Dr. Fernando Reimers, director of the International Education Policy Program at Harvard, will address graduates of Montgomery Blair HS.

· Government officials speaking at graduations include Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Quince Orchard HS), Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (Walt Whitman HS), former Maryland State Senator Michael Lenett (Stephen Knolls), Dr. Douglas W. Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office (Richard Montgomery HS), Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez (Rockville HS), and Tarik Barrett, confidential assistant at the U.S. Department of Education (Model Learning Center).

· Three speakers will address graduates of their alma mater: Stephen Anderson, cadet captain at West Point (Damascus HS), Dr. Judy Olsen, UMD visiting professor and former acting director of the Peace Corps (Walter Johnson HS) and  Marc Roberge, lead singer for rock group OAR (Thomas S. Wootton).

· Journalists and writers speaking at graduations include Bruce Johnson, Ch. 9 news anchor (James Hubert Blake HS), John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent of CNBC and political writer for the New York Times (Albert Einstein and Northwest high schools), Steve Hull, publisher and editor of Bethesda Magazine (Bethesda-Chevy Chase HS), James Brown, sportscaster on “Inside the NFL” (Sherwood HS), and writers R. Dwayne Betts (Alternative Programs) and Jeanine Cummins (RICA).

· Seniors at nine schools chose teachers or administrators as graduation speakers. They are Grant Goldstein, reading/English language instructional specialist (Col. Zadok Magruder HS), Erin Crowley, foreign language teacher (Springbrook HS), James Fields, mathematics teacher (Wheaton HS), Sharon Moore, mathematics teacher and Greenblatt Teaching Award winner (Poolesville HS),  Jeremiah Spoales, social studies teacher and varsity soccer coach (Clarksburg HS), Ruschelle Reuben, principal intern at Paint Branch HS and former Northwood administrator (Northwood HS), Mitchell Joy, social studies teacher (Watkins Mill HS), Dr. Gregory Bell, supervisor of Diversity Initiatives (Seneca Valley HS), and Amber Smith, teacher and Adriana Friedman, transition specialist (Longview).

· Students and parents speaking at graduation ceremonies are Dr. Aziza Shad, chief of pediatric hematology-oncology at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Center (Rock Terrace) and 2011 graduate Claire Satter (Gateway to College).

Here is a complete schedule of high school graduation dates, locations and speakers.

2011 Commencement Schedule.pdf

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