- Last Updated on Monday, 12 August 2013 15:14
- Published on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 10:59
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Washington & Lee High School graduated the Class of 2013 Saturday honoring the 103 students who made the journey from their freshman year to commencement and one student who did not.
District Judge Clarence N. Jenkins delivered the commencement address to the crowd of students, proud parents and relatives
gathered on the W&L football field. But the stars of the event were the beaming students.
The class of 2013 was well represented and suitably saluted by Megan Daiger, the valedictorian, and Taylor Lewis, the salutatorian, two talented scholars and athletes who through hard work and dedication earned leadership honors from the school and from their classmates.
“Be thankful for the people, present or absent, who have helped you to this point,” Daiger said in her remarks. “And live in this moment of greatness. Be proud to be part of this group to receive a diploma today. Because we are the greatest class of Washington and Lee. We are the class of determination. The class that treks on. We are the class of 13!”
Daiger, an accomplished dancer and an all-district, all- region soccer star who was the Northern Neck District Player of the Year, is bound for the University of Virginia in the fall. “She is a very well-rounded young lady with a great future ahead of her,” said W&L Athletic Director Malcolm Lewis.
Daiger, the daughter of Ruth and Gary Daiger of Montross, in addition to being W&L’s valedictorian is a member of the National Honor Society, serving as W&L’s president in 2012. She is a graduate of the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, where she studied marine and environmental science.
In addition to her excellence in dance and soccer, Daiger was a member of the W&L forensics team, the drama team, the varsity cross county team and the W&L all-academic challenge. In forensics, she was the Northern Neck District champion and the Forensics Region runner-up, placing in the top six at the state championship.
At Saturday’s celebration, Daiger memorably spoke about the student who did not graduate with the class of 2013, Jareka Shepherd, who was killed in a traffic accident in 2009 while on her way to class. Shepherd was awarded a diploma posthumously.
“One student left us far too soon,” Daiger said. “On an ordinary morning of our freshman year, Dr. Pisani came on the television to tell us Jareka was no longer with us. A girl who was loved by many of us had disappeared.
“We did not all know her personally. But that in itself was why it was absolutely moving to see our class and the school the next day all wearing her favorite color,” Daiger said. “The sheer number of people to partake in the memorial sea of orange that solemnly walked the halls that day was incredible. We grieved for a member lost.”
Taylor Lewis, in her remarks to her classmates said, “I encourage each and every one of you to go beyond a life of mediocrity to create and attain those dreams of greatness. Be remarkable and be passionate. To simply exist is not an option. We are much more than that. We are musicians, scholars, athletes, artists, talented and caring young men and women with much to offer.”
“Search for and experience the joy in life rather than merely going through the motions. Dedicate time in your life to selfless endeavors and service. Treat those around you with love and compassion. It will enrich your lives tremendously. Above all, be true to who you are. Follow your heart,” Lewis said.
Lewis is headed for the College of Charleston in the fall. She will take with her a long list of accomplishments from W&L and a reputation as a tireless worker. “Taylor is an awesome young lady,” said her W&L coach, Cindy Flickinger. “If only more of our youth would give back to their communities as Taylor has done.”
Salutatorian Lewis is a member of the National Honor Society and served as its W&L president in 2013. She has received all-academic, all-district and all- region honors in cross country, track & field, academic and forensics competitions.
Lewis has been active in many community service organizations and civic endeavors such as participating in the Bob Fox Christmas Project, working with the Northern Neck Food Bank and organizing the Popes Creek 5K race in support of the W&L High School Cross Country team. Lewis is the daughter of John and Karen Lewis of Montross.