, 2015

Northumberland High School graduates 103

by Renss Greene

CLARAVILLE—Northumberland High School awarded 103 diplomas Saturday, June 14. Some 97 diplomas were awarded during ceremonies at the NHS Auditorium in Claraville, and six at the Radford University sports complex prior to the state Group 1A championship baseball game.

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Kiondre Owens dances across the stage on the way to get his diploma during the Northumberland High School Class of 2014 commencement on June 14. Photo by Renss Greene

“As I look around, there are many of my classmates that I don’t know well at all, and it will always be a regret of mine that I didn’t make more of an effort to change that as the years went by,” said Jennifer Radcliffe in her valedictory address. Radcliffe is the daughter of Dr. Stephen and Margaret Radcliffe.

Radcliffe was a member of the National Beta Club, Pi Beta Kappa honor society, and was on the Academic Challenge Team. She was on the Virginia Blue Crab Bowl Team, a staff member of the literary magazine “The Water’s Edge” and was selected for the Freedom Foundation Spirit of America National Youth Leadership Conference.

She is a horseback rider and teacher, an Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club sports camp counselor and youth group member and acolyte at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church.

“As we go our separate ways, I’d like to point out that we will all soon have at least one thing in common: having graduated from Northumberland High School,” said salutatorian India Eguiguren. She thanked the school board, faculty and staff, and parents, and wished her classmates good luck. Eguiguren is the daughter of Alex Eguiguren and Amy Jones.

Eguiguren played varsity soccer and ran cross country. She was a member of the National Beta Club and the Academic Challenge Team, the Northern Neck Area Band and the NHS symphonic band. She was active in the Westmoreland Players community theater and was selected for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership conference.

Both Radcliffe and Eguiguren are members of the National Honor Society, attended Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, and will attend the University of Virginia in the fall.

Superintendent Dr. Rebecca Gates introduced speaker Erin Swann Ayers, describing her as “a perfect example of how to follow your dreams, and remember that anything is possible with the support of your family, your community, and our school system.” Ayers is the creative services producer of WRIC TV8 in Richmond and a Northumberland graduate. She told the assembled seniors and guests that when she graduated high school, she was an average student and didn’t know what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.

“You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward,” Ayers said. “At the end of the day, you just need to get started. You can improve along the way, but you must begin.”

School board chairman Dick Saxer presented the graduates their diplomas while director of guidance Lara Brown read their names, and the degree was officially conferred by superintendent Dr. Rebecca Gates. Senior Laura Mangano opened the ceremony by singing the national anthem and senior Megan Jaunarajs closed the ceremony by leading the newly-christened graduates in singing Northumberland’s alma mater.

Principal Dr. Travis Burns also took time to thank the students’ families for being part of the students’ education. He recognized Northumberland’s teacher of the year, Donn Belfield, and presented Belfield a hat and a t-shirt bearing his nickname, “Hot ‘N Saucy.”

In his closing remarks, Saxer said he brought “borrowed words” of wisdom quoting Will Rogers, Dr. Seuss, and others. He finished his speech by turning away from the assembled audience to address the graduates directly.

“Health, happiness, success, and comfort be your future,” he said.

The Northumberland Indians won the state baseball tournament championship over Honaker High School, 9-3. See the sports page for details.

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