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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    Charter Day celebrates achievements of past year, honors retirees

    Gonzagas  Charter
Photo credit Christopher Kaelin
    Gonzaga’s Charter Photo credit Christopher Kaelin

    Over the past few years with COVID in place and many students stuck in virtual school, the meaning of Charter Day has long been lost. What was a faint memory to seniors from their freshman year and a mere folktale to all other students came again on May 16. But still, what does Charter day really mean?

    “Charter day is a celebration of Gonzaga’s congressional charter,” said Mr. Tom Every, headmaster. “In 1858, the government required each school to be chartered by their local government, and for us, that was Congress.”

    Gonzaga remains the only high school with an active congressional charter; Visitation High School had one but theirs became inactive after Virginia’s property lines were redrawn. Charter Day is a day of celebration for the beginning of Gonzaga’s history as it still stands in D.C. and a day to also celebrate the students and faculty that consist of Gonzaga.

    This year, on top of the normal awards ceremony and traditions that crown each Charter Day, several activities were carefully planned including a picnic. According to Mr. Every, over 150 awards were given out that day, and that number increases with every year.

    “In my 13 years here, the number of students that qualify for awards has definitely increased,” Mr. Every said. “We certainly are seeing more students qualify for AP awards, National Merit Scholars and more,”

    But Charter Day doesn’t plan itself. Mr. Every and his assistant Mrs. Britney Pugh have been very busy since the start of the school year meticulously planning this event.

    “It takes at least all year to order the awards,” Mrs. Pugh said. “It’s a team effort to gather all the information; we work with the music department and others to put the program together. It is a very tedious and ‘attention to detail’ type of project.”

    Mrs. Acacia Komelasky and Mrs. Pam Valerias, who are retiring this year, were celebrated during the ceremony. Both have been a massive part of this school for several generations of students, and they will be dearly missed.

    “[Mrs. Komelasky] developed a personal connection with the entire class; she was always open to suggestions. She graded fairly, and she was a role model around the building. She will be missed next year,” said Andre Barrett, junior.

    Duke Chiow, junior and a member of the book club, will miss Mrs. Valerias.

    “She was the center of the library after Ms. Tobin left… I’m very sad to see her leave. She would always bring us [the book club] stuff in the morning in case we did not have breakfast at home, and she was always there for us,” Chiow said.

    To see photos of the day, visit Gonzaga’s Flickr account here.

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