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Home > Clerc Center > MSSD2013Commencement

MSSD celebrates 42nd Commencement Exercises

Image: Valedictorian Rebecca Hoffman.

Valedictorian Rebecca Hoffman.

Image: Commencement Speaker Matthew Lockhart, MSSD class of 1990.

Commencement Speaker Matthew Lockhart, MSSD class of 1990.

Image: Adele Fass and Mariola Kimmel performed a madcap and poignant duet ASL poem called “One Crazy Ride.”

Adele Fass and Mariola Kimmel performed a madcap and poignant duet ASL poem called “One Crazy Ride.”

Image: A long-standing tradition continues, the decorating of graduation caps and gowns.

A long-standing tradition continues, the decorating of graduation caps and gowns.

The rain poured down, but the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) Class of 2013 kept up their Eagle spirit throughout their graduation ceremonies.

Valedictorian Rebecca Hoffman, from Chicago, and Salutatorian Amberlin Hines, from Silver Spring, Maryland, gave remarks at the ceremony. Hoffman focused on life as a path through the forest with many choices. When she came to MSSD as a junior, she decided to immerse herself in school activities, taking on the lead role in the fall play two years in a row, playing on the basketball and softball teams, and serving as the Student Body Government vice president. “YOLO. You only live once!” she told the crowd, and said transferring to MSSD was the best decision she ever made.

Hines recalled acts of kindness she received at the start of her freshman year and how those gestures stuck with her throughout high school. She made a point of explaining that when people do something nice for others, sometimes they forget about it immediately but it often is remembered and deeply appreciated by those who receive the gesture. She shared this quote from an unknown person, “Love what you have. Need what you want. Accept what you receive. Give what you can. Always remember, what goes around, comes around.”

The commencement speaker was Matthew Lockhart, an alumnus who shared his experiences as a MSSD student during the history-making Deaf President Now Week in 1988 and how that influenced his career. Lockhart is director of the Policy and Oversight Division at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He received his bachelor’s degree in math from Gallaudet University and his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland. Lockhart shared how, if not for his years at MSSD and the civil rights impact of DPN, he doubted he would have the career he does today. It was at MSSD where he seriously pursued math and many other interests, and it was during DPN when he realized there were no limits to ambition.

Student performances were given, including a performance called, "If You Want It, Fight for It!" by Kristen Lavallee. Classmates and roommates Adele Fass and Mariola Kimmel performed a madcap and poignant duet ASL poem called “One Crazy Ride” that touched on the events of their past four years with sometimes converging and sometimes diverging perspectives.

Scholarship awards were given to the following recipients:

  • Peter B. Hobbs Memorial Scholarship: Robert Parcells
  • Stephanie Joyner Scholarship Award: Dalton Arnes
  • Alan R. Williams Memorial Scholarship: David Bruno and Claudia Giordano
  • Gallaudet University Scholarships:
    1. Kendell Bisson-Davis (Dean's Prestige)
    2. Adele Fass (Dean's Prestige)
    3. Amberlin Hines (Provost's Honors Distinction)
    4. Rebecca Hoffman (Provost's Honors Distinction)
    5. Samantha Williamson (Dean's Prestige)

Congratulations to all our senior graduates and their families! We wish you well in your future and look forward to your return for MSSD alumni events. You are now part of an alumni network that numbers more than 2,000 members!