Thomas Stone Holds 2018 Graduation

June 7, 2018

Thomas Stone High School seniors Ryan Cusack, left, and Derek Curtis prepare to graduate June 2.

When he was five years old, Semaj Rascoe wanted to be a tiger. His friends said they would grow up to be dentists or lawyers; Rascoe wanted to be a fierce cat, but a teacher dashed his hope. Yet, his wish – in a way – came true. He grew up to be a Thomas Stone High School cougar and the valedictorian of the Class of 2018.

Rascoe urged his fellow graduates to hold on to their imaginations as they navigate the “real world.” The world they will be entering wilnl need creative thinkers, those with original ideas and the will to make them a reality.

“I can stand here and explain to you numerous examples of people who have used their imaginations to carry out their dreams,” Rascoe said. “But I would rather hear your dreams. I would rather see your futures and I would rather see you succeed because with imagination your potential is limitless.”

The potential Stone graduates possess will be tested and risks will need to be taken, said salutatorian Skyler Wells. “By taking risks, mistakes will occur. Learning from these mistakes will become your guiding light,” she said. “So, don’t be afraid. None of us is perfect … Don’t forget to be yourself so you can blossom into the person you are meant to be in this maze called life.”

While looking forward to their futures, the students remembered a friend they lost in March 2017. Keymar Green and Sequoyah Saunders spoke of LaShelle Goodwin who was killed during the class’s junior year. “She was an amazing person,” Saunders said, recalling how her friend always had a sketch book with her. Goodwin was an artist and photographer, part of a “little family” friends formed in first period photography class, Green said. Saunders was Goodwin’s friend since middle school, and as the years grew, so did their friendship. “As I came to know her, I saw her true colors,” Saunders said. “And they were beautiful.”

The 260-member Thomas Stone Class of 2018 earned more than $10 million in scholarships. Cougars will head to colleges and universities like George Washington University, Hampton University and San Diego State University. Some will enter the workforce, while others will serve in the armed forces.

“Thomas Stone releases its graduates into the world on this remarkable day and unlike the teacher who would not accept a tiger,” Rascoe said. “The world will gladly accept a cougar.”

Thomas Stone’s graduation was the sixth of seven high school ceremonies set to take place this weekend at the Charles County Convocation Center at North Point High School. Photos from all high school graduations will be posted on the school system website at concluding each ceremony.

Thomas Stone High School senior Briana Thompson arrives at the Charles County Convocation Center June 2 excited to graduate.

Thomas Stone High School seniors Ryan Cusack, left, and Derek Curtis prepare to graduate June 2.