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Thomas Stone holds graduation ceremony June 2

The finale of Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) graduation week featured Thomas Stone High School holding its ceremony on the morning of Friday, June 2.

Graduation was the last high school commitment the 251 graduates completed. They are heading to colleges and universities such as the Savannah College of Art and Design, Tuskegee University and Howard University, will serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, train to become emergency services personnel and enter the work force.

While the ceremony is a time of celebration, the class’s leaders shared with their peers the hard lessons and realizations they have gleaned while working to become valedictorian and salutatorian.

Jonathan Rand-Crawford, the salutatorian, reflected on the sacrifices he made while in high school. He said he had to forego experiences that could have been enriching and fun, he might have let relationships suffer and was too hard on himself at times.

“I found that I spent four years losing sleep, neglecting relationships even those among my family, and missing many opportunities for achievement and social connection,” Rand-Crawford said. “I did all of this just so I could have a high number next to my name and to stand here before you on this stage.” He admitted to feeling burned out until the last days of school until he started to relax, realizing his life was unbalanced.

“I’m not implying you should not focus on school. Your education is very important. What I’m saying is school should only be one part of a balanced life. Looking back on my experience, I realize that the most important part of life should be a single part. But each individual part blending to form a cohesive whole.”

As the graduates move on to the next chapter of their lives, Rand-Crawford urged his peers to strive for balance. “Even the smallest changes can be considered successes if they bring you closer to balance.”

Valedictorian Olivia Warren used her address to highlight the world the graduates would be entering as young adults and the societal and economic issues they would face.

Thomas Stone Principal Shanif Pearl asked the graduates to work to make a positive impact on the world. “It’s up to you to carve your own path, seize opportunities and create meaningful impact,” Pearl said. “The world needs your passion, your innovative ideas and your unwavering determination to shape a brighter tomorrow. Be the change agents, be the pioneers, be the catalyst for progress.”

Thomas Stone’s Class of 2023 earned nearly $25 million in scholarship offers with more expected in the coming weeks. To learn more about the CCPS Class of 2023, visit To view the ceremonies, visit the online playlists.

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,598 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 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).