Most IWA grads college-bound

Published 5:55 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2018

By Elizabeth Pattman

Staff writer

Isle of Wight Academy graduated 49 seniors during the June 1 ceremony. More than half of them graduated with honors and nearly all will be attending a college or university next fall.

Valedictorian and class president Kevin Richard Jurewicz and co-salutatorians Nicolas Miller Johnson and Hayley Elizabeth Stallings all had the same message to share throughout their speeches: “thank you.”

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From thanking teachers, parents, siblings, friends and significant others, these IWA grads appeared overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunities and relationships their education has afforded them.

“We are truly family here at IWA. Each teacher has cared for and supported us as if we were their own family,” said Johnson. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

“Some of us have been together since kindergarten and others joined us later down the road. No matter how long we have been here, we have all made great friendships that are unforgettable. It doesn’t feel great to be separating from the people I have been with since the very beginning,” Stallings said, tearing up during her speech.

Stallings is one of 24 students from the class of 2018 that have attended IWA for 12 or more years.

After each speaker’s heartfelt reminiscing and thank yous, the graduates turned to the future and the new paths that lie ahead of them.

“How do I begin to say goodbye to a place that has been like a second home to me since I was three years old?” asked Johnson.

“I don’t know if anyone here will be the next Bill Gates. It’d be amazing, don’t get me wrong. But what I do know is every one of us is leaving here a Charger. You’ll always be a part of this family,” said Jurewicz.

“As far as what everyone is doing next year, JMU is a great school,” he joked, noting that one-fifth of the class plans to attend the school.

Following the graduates’ speeches, IWA welcomed Larry Pope, former president and CEO of Smithfield Foods, as the guest speaker. 

Pope’s message to the students was summed up when he told them, “for God’s sake, don’t waste it.” Pope was referring to all of the hard work the students have put in, the opportunities their families have made available to them, and all the success they have ahead of them.

Pope also made sure to emphasize that the students needed to be prepared to take on the responsibilities of their transition to adulthood.

“Going forward, things are going to change. Success in the future will be much more you and much less your parents and your teachers,” Pope said. “From this point forward you are responsible for your future success.”

For 42 of the graduates, those successes will begin to come during their time attending a four-year college or university. Successes will also come for the four students attending community colleges, the one student entering the United States Marine Corps, the one student pursuing employment and the one international student who will be returning to his home country of Germany.

The class of 2018 received a total of $867,041 in scholarship funds to help them along their future paths. Dylan Kyle Robertson receiving the most scholarships money, with $193,800, from the Patrick Henry Scholarship, a Hampden Sydney College academic merit scholarship, the Charles F. Burroughs Memorial Scholarship, the Camp Foundation Scholarship, the Taylor Pierce Memorial Scholarship and the Windsor Lions Club Memorial Scholarship.  {/mprestriction}