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The Northern High School 2014 graduating class let their Patriot colors fly Thursday evening at their commencement ceremony at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro.

Kevin Howard, Northern’s principal, told students they had valuable skills that allowed them to adapt well to new surroundings.

“This is evident by me being your third principal in four years,” Howard said, addressing the graduates.

After recounting memorable moments from throughout the year, Howard encouraged the seniors to cherish the memories and take the foundation laid at Northern High School to move forward and make new memories.

Eugene Karol and Nancy V. Highsmith, president of the Calvert County Board of Education and interim superintendent of Calvert County Public Schools, respectively, addressed the class of 2014 for the last time.

Karol told students to “enjoy the present, look to the future and be willing to take a chance,” while Highsmith reminded the graduates, “the future belongs to you.”

“This is a time to recognize the unique accomplishments of each graduate sitting here tonight. … We are capable of so much,” Christine White, the class salutatorian, said to her classmates. “There are so many talented people in our graduating class that I often wonder how many of our graduates I’ll see on the cover of Time or Forbes. What can I say? I dream big.”

White told the graduates that the world was too large to be categorized into class rankings. There are brilliant minds, she said, who may not excel in one subject or another.

“Never doubt your worth,” White told her peers. “We leave this institution with the wonderful opportunity to better ourselves while impacting the lives of others. There’s so much we get to accomplish … there’s virtually nothing we can’t do.”

Christopher Noyes, class valedictorian, joked that after having three different principals and two different vice principals, the senior class made “people want to quit their jobs and leave the building.”

He continued to encourage the graduates to remember the good times that were shared but that their lives were only beginning.

“My advice is to never let the mistakes you make in life deter you from completing your goals. We are all human and, therefore, make mistakes, and none of us are infallible,” Noyes said.

After taking a “selfie” at the podium with her fellow graduates behind her, Karly Klem, class president, reminisced about the spirited times she and her classmates shared together. What Northern High School may have lacked in windows, she said, the senior class made up for it in school spirit.

“Northern High School is simply amazing,” Klem said. “... Whether you leave Calvert County tomorrow, or stay here forever, always remember the good times we had together as the class of 2014. … We have our whole lives ahead of us, so go find your passion and go find your happiness.”

Amber Kelly, 18, said she will miss her teachers most and being part of the basketball, golf and baseball teams.

“What I won’t miss is having no windows,” Kelly said, referring to some of the building’s classrooms.

Kelly said her favorite memory of the year was watching Austin Howard, classmate and running back for the football team, help win a game against Calvert High School in the fall.

Her friend, Michaela Linder, 18, said she will miss Spirit Week and her daily routine the most.

“It hasn’t hit me yet that we’re graduating,” Linder said before entering the arena.

Joshua Bond, 17, said he will not miss the drama of high school, but will miss something else.

“All the girls,” Bond said.

snewman@somdnews.com