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Largest Graduation Class in the History of Northwest High School Receives Diplomas

For the first time since it opened, Northwest High School did not graduate in Washington D.C. The Class of 2018 outgrew DAR Constitution Hall and instead, held commencement at the Xfinity Center on the campus of the University of Maryland on Wednesday, June 6.

The 603 members of the Northwest Class of 2018 were the 19th class to complete high school at Northwest. According to remarks from Principal James D’Andrea, 90 percent of the class will attend a two- or four-year college or university. “As a class,” he told the graduates, “you have received 1,290 offers of admission to attend more than 280 different colleges or universities. Your class has received the largest amount of scholarship offers in the history of Northwest High School, valued at a total of $18.8 million.”

Five members of the class have made commitments to serve in the United States military after graduation, one in the U.S. Army, three in the U.S. Marine Corps and one will join the National Guard, said D’Andrea.

He also pointed out three members of the class that were leaving Northwest with more than a high school diploma. “This year for the first time, through a partnership with Montgomery College, there are three students graduating not only with their high school diplomas, but also associates degrees in engineering,” he said. Those students are Emily Cho, Priyanka Kishore, and Genevieve Tan.

The graduates heard from commencement speaker, Northwest teacher Ryan Acosta-Fox who spoke of community and neighbors. Graduations, he said are about community. “They’re about a collective experience. They’re about looking around and seeing hundreds of peers who have completed the same difficult journey as you. They’re about family members and friends and well-wishers all here to celebrate you –– all of you. They’re about all the people in your life who’ve made you who you are, even those who can’t be here today. They’re about a joy we feel that is bigger than the kind we can carry by ourselves.”

He told them, “The joy you feel today comes from what is ‘essential but invisible to the eye’: kinship.” Acosta-Fox reminded them to be good to their neighbors by quoting Irish poet Seamus Heaney. “'Who is my neighbor?' 'My neighbor is all mankind.” He told them, “In my eleven years teaching I have had the privilege of learning and relearning the same lesson every day: to have faith in our future, for I have met those who will direct it. Class of 2018, you have the power to confront the tumult of today’s world.”

He reminded them that while the task may seem daunting, “take heart: we’re all here to help. You are not alone. Never forget that you have the ability to ‘see rightly,’ to perceive what is ‘essential’ but ‘invisible to the eye’: the silent poetry of our hearts beating in unison, the energy that allows us to look at others and see not competitors, but neighbors.”

Northwest High School Class of 2018


Top: The 603 members of the Northwest High School Class of 2018 at graduation ceremonies held at the Xfinity Center at the University of Maryland on Wednesday, June 6.

Next: Commencement speaker and Northwest teacher Ryan Accosta-Fox speaking to the Class of 2018.

Next: Principal James D’Andrea addresses the Class of 2018 for the last time.

Next: A Gallery of photos from Northwest High School Graduation.

Photos by Germantown Pulse.

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