Nearly 8,800 high school students and students in alternative programs are graduating and receiving diplomas from the Montgomery County Public Schools this spring. Twenty-nine schools have scheduled graduation ceremonies through June 13.
Commencement speakers include public officials, business leaders, journalists, educators, scientists, actors, and sports figures. The schedule of speakers is highlighted by Condoleezza Rice, assistant to the President for National Security, who will address graduates at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. Congresswoman Constance A. Morella will speak at both Rockville and Montgomery Blair high schools. Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend will address students at Watkins Mill High School. Michael Algeo, associate judge with the Montgomery County Circuit Court, will speak to students at the Rock Terrace School.
Jason Kravits, actor in the TV series The Practice and Col. Zadok Magruder graduate, will speak at his alma mater. Other graduates who will return to their high schools to speak are Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at the Washington Post (Thomas S. Wootton High School), Hank Fraley of the Philadelphia Eagles football team (Gaithersburg High School), and Benja Akinagle, a graduate of Mark Twain School and Bucknell University.
Among other prominent commencement speakers are actor Danny Glover, who will speak at Walter Johnson High School, and four members of the 1971 Alexandria Titans football team, at Richard Montgomery High School. The speaker at Walt Whitman High School will be political satirist William Strauss, a member of the Capitol Steps performing group. Former astronaut Frederick Hauch is the speaker at Winston Churchill High School. Paint Branch High School graduates will host Assistant Chief Shawn Kelley of the Arlington Fire Department, who served at ground zero at the Pentagon. The class also has invited former principal Fred Lowenbach to speak.
A number of teachers have been asked to be commencement speakers by the graduating class at their school. They include Joan Schultz, social studies resource teacher at Poolesville High School; Al Thomas, former math teacher and coach at Seneca Valley High School; Ed Dalton, science teacher at Wheaton High School; Ian Bain, foreign language teacher at Springbrook High School; and Jeffery Deitchman, English teacher at Sherwood High School.
Other notable speakers include Terry Busch, former director of Human Resources for the CIA (Damascus High School), Board of Education member Kermit Burnett (Longview School) and student member Dustin Jeter (RICA), and TV journalists James Adams, WRC TV (Albert Einstein High School), Tim Kurkjian, ESPN (Quince Orchard High School), Rene Knott, WJLA TV (John F. Kennedy High School), Ken Mease, WUSA TV (Northwest High School), and Del Walters, WJLA TV (James Hubert Blake High School). Community Superintendent Louis Martinez will address graduates of alternative programs.