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Lackey’s graduation celebrates history and small moments that create a life well lived  

Henry E. Lackey High School’s Class of 2024 charged into Regency Furniture Stadium Thursday, May 30, for commencement exercises. The class of 257 members was led by valedictorian Isabel Raleigh and salutatorian Anna Martin.

Martin’s history with Lackey goes back generations. Family legend has it that her great-grandmother was alive while Henry E. Lackey was and even thought he was “cute.” She was a member of one of Lackey’s first graduating classes 78 years ago. Martin’s grandmother was a homecoming queen and voted Most Popular and her grandfather was a state champion athlete when they graduated from Lackey 59 years ago. Martin’s mother, Julie, graduated from Lackey 30 years ago as her class’s treasurer and the “Class Gossip.” Martin’s older sister, Morgan, was the valedictorian of the Class of 2022, and her best friend was salutatorian for Lackey’s Class of 2023.

“And what’s even cooler than that is that every single one of those people is here for me today. If nothing else, this great line up has taught me – I need to get out of here,” joked Martin, who will study psychology at Auburn University in the fall.  

Her mother has stressed the importance of sending thank you notes. With that in mind, Martin took the opportunity to thank Lackey. “Dear Lackey, there’s so much to thank you for,” Martin said. “You taught me how fast time flies. As much as Lackey taught me, you guys deserve a thank you note as well.”

Martin went on to address her fellow graduates. “I truly have loved growing up with every single one of you,” she said. “This is one of the smartest groups of students Lackey has ever seen, even if I might have a little bias. Let’s not peak here. These shouldn’t be the good ol’ days. Call your family. Work harder than who’s next to you. Try something new. Say yes more than you say no. Be honest. Take more pictures. And have a positive attitude in everything you do.”

Raleigh will study marketing and graphic design at the University of Miami in the fall. In her valedictory address, she urged her peers to appreciate the journey, rather than just focusing solely on the destination.

“We are so eager to get to our destination, we forget that there is still time before we arrive,” Raleigh said. “High school has been much like a road trip. We are often so focused on the big event we forget; we forget about the smaller everyday events that truly define our high school careers.”

Small, every day events make up the fabric of a life. The same group of friends you sit with at lunch every day, the teacher you share gossip with, the coach who pushes you to be better. “These events that feel miniscule but are landmarks in your journey,” Raleigh said. “By constantly asking, ‘Are we there yet,’ can make us miss the sites and attractions that shape our journey.”

Maurice J. McDonough High School will hold its graduation ceremony at 1 p.m., Thursday, May 30, at the stadium. CCPS is livestreaming all graduations at and on its Vimeo and YouTube channels. Go to

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,765 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 38 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event. CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).