1920 Bladensburg Rd, N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
Home of the Panthers

News & Events

WMST graduation speaker to the Class of 2010: your education isn't ending

NASA Astronaut Jose M. Hernandez encouraged the 97 members of the Washington Math Science Technology (WMST) Public Charter High School at the school's June 3 graduation to develop a good plan for their education and implement it through a combination of drive and perseverance.

“Your education isn't ending. It's really just starting,” said Hernandez, who served as a flight engineer on the 128th Shuttle mission, STS-128 Discovery, which spent two weeks in space last year. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden had to cancel his WMST graduation keynote address because he was called by President Obama to attend a meeting at the State Department on June 3.

One of four children of Mexican migrant workers, Hernandez told the graduation audience at Howard University's Cramton Auditorium about his third grade math teacher, Mrs. Young, who encouraged his parents to leave their nomadic lifestyle behind for their betterment of their children and their education. After moving between the United States and Mexico three to four times a year, the Hernandez family decided to stay put in Stockton, Calif., after the talk.

The “moral of the story,” Hernandez told WMST graduates, staff, parents and friends, is that “people matter,” and can make a difference. He also encouraged the Class of 2010 to learn how to work in teams with other people and to dedicate themselves to work that they love.

Ted Trabue, president of the State Board of Education for the District of Columbia, encouraged the Class of 2010 to “stay flexible,” continue to learn and “celebrate today.”

DC City Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. (Ward 5) told the Class of 2010 that “the tool of education” is the “best tool that will never change.”

Ronecqua Smith '10, salutatorian, encouraged her classmates to find a balance in their life so that they can enjoy life while also getting their schoolwork and other duties accomplishments.

Kianna Duncan '10, valedictorian, paid tribute to her class and its ability to adopt to the new grading system, half-day Friday schedule, the new head of school (Mark Holbrook arrived in 2008), the new school uniform and the school's new building, which they entered as ninth graders in 2006.

She said that the Class of 2010 also played an important role in WMST's launch of cheerleading and basketball teams during the 2009-2010 school year, and she paid tribute to WMST's trip to Germany and the Google grant that the school earned this school year.

Larissa Dyson '10 received a $500 Mary Johnson Scholarship, named after the foundress of WMST, for being the top mathematics students in the senior class. James H. Johnson, an attorney and the son of Dr. Johnson, is funding the scholarship program for 10 years.