When Patrick Henry High School student Amy Dunham started high school, she knew she wanted to get perfect grades. In middle school, she had a few girls that she competed with academically. By the time she reached Patrick Henry, she had left the competition behind.
So, when Dunham found out she was the high school’s valedictorian for 2014, she was not expecting it because she said it was not intentional.
Dunham has a 4.6 grade point average and was a part of the school’s International Baccalaureate program.
Once she graduates June 14, Dunham will attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology to major in engineering. She will also be putting her 12 years living in Hanover County behind her, which she said is a little terrifying.
But looking back on her time at Patrick Henry, Dunham said it was a good experience that in the end, turned her into a confident person.
Dunham advises anyone about to enter high school to take advantage of every opportunity that is handed to them.
“You want to say you made it,” Dunham said.
She also expressed the importance of trying absolutely every challenging and rigorous course to get ahead, even if you’re not put ahead by administrators, she believes everyone is capable of getting ahead and succeeding.
After college, Dunham already has a plan. She will join the U.S. Marine Corps for four years because she’s attending MIT on a ROTC scholarship.
John Connock came in second in Patrick Henry’s graduating class of 2014 and as a result is the high school’s salutatorian. Early on in his high school career, Connock said he did not intend on being the salutatorian, but had a goal to beat his brother’s class ranking of fourth.
Connock plans to attend Virginia Tech to major in engineering.
During high school, Connock challenged himself, too. He enrolled in eight Advanced Placement courses during his time at Patrick Henry. Because of that, he said he feels mostly prepared for college.
“My teachers have done the best they can,” Connock said, adding that students should never be afraid to ask questions.
When looking back on his four years at Patrick Henry, Connock said it was really a time for growing and during that time he matured.
But if he could go back and change anything, Connock said he would have set aside more time for fun – advice he would share with anyone just starting high school.
Connock said achieving salutatorian for his class is evidence of his hard work that can’t be destroyed.
“It’s something I can always hold onto not just after high school,” Connock said.
And he’ll even be able to hold it over his brother’s head.
“I am going to always be able to remind my brother, ‘Hey dude, I beat you!’” Connock added.
Saturday, June 14
VCU Siegel Center,
1200 W. Broad Street,
Richmond, VA 23284
Schools and times:
Atlee High School – 8:30 a.m.
Lee-Davis High School – noon
Hanover High School – 3:30 p.m.
Patrick Henry High School – 7 p.m.
During all four of the high school graduations the parking pass issued for Hanover County high school graduations must be displayed in every vehicle parked in the parking decks and lots operated by VCU Parking and Transportation. Vehicles in which this parking pass is not visible will receive a parking ticket for violation of this requirement.
Hanover County Public Schools’ TV99 is pleased to be able to provide live coverage of our high school commencement ceremonies online at www.hcps.us/tv99. Graduations will be broadcast online at the following times: Atlee High School, 8:30 a.m.; Lee-Davis High School, noon; Hanover High School, 3:30 p.m.; and Patrick Henry High School, 7 p.m. Hanover’s TV99 will also provide the sale of DVDs of the graduation ceremonies with proceeds funding student scholarships. An order form is available online at: www.hcps.us/tv99. Graduations will also be aired on TV99 this summer. Visit hcps.us/tv99 or follow TV99 on Twitter (@TV99) for scheduling information.